SSE ENGLISH CLUBS CHAMPIONSHIP
CHINNOR head coach Matt Goode says he is “massively excited” as they bid to avoid relegation on the final day of the National 2 South season.
The Thame-based side host basement boys Exmouth, who are already down, knowing they need a victory to have any chance of survival due to their inferior points difference.
Even then, Chinnor must rely on one of their rivals London Irish Wild Geese, Dings Crusaders or Launceston losing.
All this will make for a tense day for home fans at Kingsey Road, but Goode, who starts at outside centre, is relishing it.
“On Tuesday we had a really good training session and afterwards I told the boys I’m fairly nervous,” he said.
“But talking about it now, I am massively excited.
“I have not had this feeling for a couple of years. The last time was when we played Tonbridge Juddians in the play-off to get promoted.
“This is really a cup final for us now.
“We need a result to go our way, but first and foremost we need to win.
“Everybody is up for it. We have had a lot of support from around the club.”
Provided they beat Exmouth, Chinnor’s best hope of survival looks to be with Wild Geese visiting Ampthill, who want to win to seal a play-off spot.
Goode expects the Chinnor bench will receive plenty of information about those games via Twitter.
Fly half Will Millett, wing Leo Fielding, prop Joe Winpenny and flanker Andrew Tibbatts all return to the starting line-up, while centre Jack Hayes (knee) faces a fitness test.
Henley Hawks’ National 1 survival remains in their hands.
Hawks visit Tynedale stuck in the third relegation spot, but if they can beat the North East club and deny them a bonus point, they will stay up.
Henley beat Tynedale 51-17 in their opening match, but their opponents’ form has picked up this year.
Flanker Matt Payne and centre Tom Allen are unavailable.
Will Woodward comes in for Payne, while Ed Yarnton moves from full back to centre and Neil Baggett replaces him at No 15.
Luke Carter starts at scrum half in place of Ollie Frost.
Banbury visit Crewe & Nantwich in their Midlands 2 West play-off.
Head coach James Kerr said: “This season is already a success for us in terms of progression.
“We’ll go out there and play with a style the players like.
“A win would be a massive bonus, but if we play like we have been, I know we can do it.”
Henley Hawks (v Tynedale, away): Baggett, Bart, Yarnton, Wells, Nutt, Comben, Carter, Manning, Dwyer, Williams, McNally, Clements (capt), Woodward, Newman, R Stapley. Reps: Maddocks, Penny, Ashmore, Haynes, Frost.
Chinnor (v Exmouth, home): Mountford, Fielding, Goode, Barnes/Hayes, G Blewitt, Millett, Jones, Winpenny, Pickett, Cano, Smith, Kruzychi, Tibbatts, Townsend, Gilbert (capt). Reps: Vickers, Betts, Hall, Hastings, Hirskyj-Douglas.
Banbury (v Crewe & Nantwich, away): from Fox, Richmond, Dymond, Pratt, Ja Mills, S Mills, O’Dwyer, Brand, C Phillips, Page, E Phillips (capt), Tooth, Boyle, J Heywood, Manley, Deegan, Jo Mills, Daniels, tbc.