Chichester 28 v 10 Sevenoaks
Chichester made a very satisfactory start to the new season against a competitive Sevenoaks team. Match report by Roger Gould.
Chichester made a very satisfactory start to the new season against a competitive Sevenoaks team. They had the upper hand for the majority of the game and deserved their bonus point with 4 tries, 2 penalties and a conversion to a try, conversion and penalty. It was an open running encounter, controlled perfectly by the referee, and it suited a sunny and warm afternoon on a firm pitch. A pleasing feature was the discipline which made a welcome low penalty count.
Blues gave first team debuts to 3 young players. Tom Hutchin was full back, Jamie Wilcock outside centre and Eddie Hillyer backs replacement on the bench. Scrum half Henry Anscombe kicked off but Chichester lost possession and Sevenoaks attacked. They gained a penalty for a rather high tackle and fly half Barker put the first points on the scoreboard. Chichester replied with Chris Johnson driving close to the try line. A penalty to the right corner, lineout won and snappy passes across the backs gave space for Nat Jackson to score at the right corner. Conversion missed. 5 - 3. Sevenoaks probed but were met by strong tackles, especially from flanker Charlie Wallace. Anscombe succeeded with a huge penalty from just over the half way line. 8 - 3. Play was even for a while with both teams sharing possession from the tight. The backs sought a gap and inside centre Jack Bentall ran hard but needed a quicker pass to break through. Sevenoaks backs also handled competently but their line was a bit flat. Chichester drove well from a lineout before the ball was switched from right to left. Another lineout and drive saw the unstoppable Johnson plunging over near the left corner. Conversion missed. 13 - 3 after 30 minutes. Sevenoaks came back with pressure and their full back took advantage of a poor Chichester kick to charge forward on a scything run into the home 22. Hooker Jack Arden- Brown and Johnson were in action just before the break but a penalty was conceded and Sevenoaks cleared to touch. Half time 13 - 3.
It was clear that Chichester would need to concentrate and minimise mistakes to protect their lead. The visitors were not yet beaten and were well organised.
Sevenoaks restarted and applied pressure. From a lineout and drive left winger Short came on an angled run to collect a quick pass and cross just left of the posts. Converted by Barker. 13 - 10. Chichester stepped up and went to work. The front row were tough, locks Nick Blount and Martin O'Callaghan kept their opposite numbers at bay, while Aaron Davies and Wallace won good lineout ball. Anscombe sent a big kick to Vultures corner for the forwards to maul. Fly half Richard Adams sent a measured high kick to the right wing and Jackson caught tidily to score his second try. Conversion missed. 18 - 10. Sevenoaks tried again and Hutchin made a try saving tackle from behind and around the legs. Blues used their bench men wisely in rotation and Joe Woods, Ed Grinstead and Hillyer played their part. The outcome was made fairly safe when Anscombe kicked a comfortable penalty from 25 metres. 21 - 10. The final nail in the Oaks timber coffin was a thing of real beauty. Johnson made a break and the ball was whipped across to left winger Ben Robson. He raced along the touchline, coped with a tackle and offloaded. Five players then handled with inside and outside passes which made supporters dizzy before Bentall had the honour of scoring the try of this season. Anscombe converted. An exciting finale to an entertaining contest. Sevenoaks players and supporters were sporting after their disappointment and complimented their opponents. 28 - 10 and full time.
Chichester squad: Deavall, Arden-Brown, Belcher, O'Callaghan, Blount, Davies, Wallace, Johnson, Anscombe, Adams, Jackson, Bentall (capt.), Wilcock, Robson, Hutchin, Woods, Grinsted and Hillyer.
Chichester now face great challenges in their next 4 matches against leading teams from last season in this league. They play at Tottonians next, on the western side of Southampton. All support welcome and needed. Not too far to travel. Kick-off 3 p.m.