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RUGBY UNION: Bowers has new Chinnor target
10:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in Rugby
Head coach Jason Bowers has set his Chinnor players a new target as they prepare to host Dings Crusaders in National 2 South tomorrow (2.30).
The Thame-based club suffered a 52-7 defeat at a very strong Hartpury College side last week, which might rattle the confidence of many teams.
But sitting comfortably in seventh place gives Chinnor every reason to be positive.
Bowers stressed: “We are overachieving our early season ambitions, which means a refocusing of the targets.
“Tenth, 11th or 12th would have been acceptable at the beginning of the season when our aim was to stay up.
“Now we are talking about trying to sustain this mid-table position. That’s something we are all fully behind trying to achieve.”
Wing Leo Fielding is unavailable, so Tristan Corpe comes into the squad after impressing for the seconds.
Ben Ashmore’s good form as a replacement has earned him a starting spot at blindside flanker for Henley Hawks’ trip to Canterbury.
Partnering him on the flank will be the returning Ryan Newman, but Matt Payne is still not available.
Top try scorer Xavier Andre remains out with a foot injury.
Although eighth in the table, Canterbury are the league’s fourth highest try scorers with 91.
Relegation-haunted Oxford Harlequins visit second-placed Weston-super-Mare in National 3 South West knowing the games are running out fast to save their skins.
After suffering five successive defeats, Quins are 15 points from safety, with just five matches left.
Quins head of rugby Steve Chadbone admitted: “We have got to start picking up wins now.
“We have five games left and we effectively need maximum points.”
Flanker Sam Bennett is ruled out with a leg injury, and Seisoni Tupou switches from the centre to take his place in the back row.
Luke Evans is handed the No 12 shirt, while Guillame Bourda returns at fly half and Will Hilton switches to full back with Huw Jones unavailable.
Skipper Harry Whittington reverts to the wing.
Quins suffered their heaviest defeat of the season when they were walloped 90-0 by Weston in November.
But Chadbone said: “There are different personnel and players involved now.”
Charlie Bennett comes in at lock for Witney’s home game against Swindon in South West 1 East.
Marc Copperwheat gets a start at blindside flanker as Witney look to pull clear of relegation danger.
Chinnor (v Dings Crusaders, home): from Colver, T Corpe, Goode, Stoop, Gray, Millett, Hopwood, Winpenny (capt), Holyland, Pickett, Mowbray, Smith, Hughes, Waddingham, Gilbert, Whelan, Berry, Sawyer, Chase, Mountford.
Henley Hawks (v Canterbury, away): Nutt, O'Neill, Allen (capt), Wells, Briggs, Robinson, Carter, Milford-Scott, Dwyer, Manning, Clements, McNally, Ashmore, Newman, Stapley. Reps: Maddocks, Hadfield, Winterbottom, Woodward, Holmes.
Oxford Harlequins (v Weston-super-Mare, away): Hilton, Whittington (capt), Johnstone, Evans, Straengh, Bourda, Cosins, Si Chadbone, Edney, Direen, Clayton, Brown, Forde, Tupou, Rees. Reps: Boulton, Farahani, Baker.
Witney (v Swindon, home): Monks, Douglas, Stratford, Clarke, L Collins, H Lamb, G Campbell, Fuller, R Harris, Calley, Rowles, Bennett, M Copperwheat, C Campbell, J Hicks (capt). Reps: Brocklebank, Mortimer, Murton.