Chichester 37 v 19 Chobham
A big thank you to Roger Gould who has hung up his notepad after 15 years writing the match reports.
After two days of good weather and a drying wind the pitch was in remarkably good condition and would allow some running rugby. Chichester completed their third double of the season scoring 6 tries, 2 conversions and a penalty to Chobham’s 3 tries and 2 conversions. Chobham looked very dangerous with ball in hand and it is difficult to understand why they find themselves just above the drop zone.
Chichester made eight changes to the team that lost against Thurrock last time out and included two teenagers making the senior rugby debuts. 18 year old Jack Martin, son of former 1st XV captain and Club Chairman Keith Martin, started at fly half and 19 year old Lewis Sampson, former Seaford College student, was on the bench.
Chichester kicked off playing down the slope. The early exchanges were punctuated with handling errors from both sides as the backs stretched their legs. Jack Hamilton-Fox and Toby Golds both made crucial tackles to halt Chobham’s advance in the Chichester 22. The deadlock was broken after 16 minutes when Chobham were penalised for crossing. Martin kicked for the corner and from the resulting maul the Chichester pack crossed the line from 5 metres out with Harry Seaman dotting down. Converted. 7 - 0. With the bit between their teeth Blues put the Chobham try line under sustained pressure but the score just wouldn’t come. The ball was passed from one side of the pitch to the other as Chichester went through the phases and then finally the breakthrough came, with a carbon copy of the first try. Chobham infringed, Martin kicked for the corner and from the resulting maul the Chichester pack crossed the line from 5 metres out with Jack Arden-Brown scoring. Conversion missed. 12 - 0. With the clock running down an errant pass went to ground and was picked up by the Chobham winger to dot down in Vultures Corner. Converted. 12 - 7. In the final minute of the first half Chobham infringed just outside their 22 metre line, after a superb run from Sam Renwick, and Martin slotted the penalty. 15 - 7. Half time.
The Chobham coaching staff conducted their half time team talk on the pitch and when Chichester emerged from the changing room it was clear the visitors had the bit between their teeth. Blues were contained in their own half for nearly 15 minutes with try saving tackles from Renwick and Hamilton-Fox preventing Chobham adding to their score. Finally, a rare foray into the visitor’s half saw a long pass from Martin bypass 3 of his team mates, creating an overlap, for Adrian Lynch to pass to Hamilton-Fox for a try in the corner. Conversion missed. 20 - 7. From the restart the visitors continued to apply the pressure and looked to have broken through Blue’s defence only for Hamilton-Fox to take the Chobham player over the touch line 2 metres out. Chichester won the resulting lineout, but the clearance kick was charged down and Chobham had their second try. Converted. 20 - 14. Shortly after the restart a run from Hamilton-Fox was stopped by the Chobham centre with a high tackle, resulting in a yellow card. With the man advantage Chichester started to apply the pressure going through the phases in the Chobham 22. The visitors infringed in front of the posts and Harry Seaman took a quick penalty, darting over the line for his second try and the bonus point. Converted. 27 - 14. Chichester increased the pressure further with Chris Johnson putting in his trademark runs, bouncing defenders aside. Lynch, now playing at fly half sent a long ball to Johnson who broke through two defenders and offloaded with one hand to Golds who returned a looping pass inside to Robson, before Golds was bundled into touch. Chobham over threw the subsequent lineout which was claimed by Nick Blount who spun through 360 degrees to score the fifth try. Conversion missed. 32 - 14. From the restart Chichester’s pack advanced the ball back towards Vultures Corner. Chobham infringed and the kick to touch provided Blues with a lineout on the 22 metre line. Dane Gingell broke out of the maul and sprinted 20 metres, like a gazelle, to score in the corner much to the enjoyment of the supporters on the balcony. Conversion missed. 37 - 14. Chobham hadn’t given up and the clearance from a grubber kick was charged down and carried across the line for their third try. Conversion missed. 37 - 19. With 2 minutes left the Chobham scrum half sensed a bonus point try was possible and rallied his team. Another attempted grubber kick, through the Blue’s defence, was snuffed out by Renwick and the referee blew for full time.
Chichester squad: Deavall, Arden-Brown, Woods, Lindsay, Blount, O’Callaghan, Wallace (capt.), Johnson, Seaman, Martin, Golds, Lynch, Renwick, Robson, Hamilton-Fox, Gingell, Davies and Sampson.
There is no match next week. Chichester play away at London Cornish on Saturday, 3rd March. Kick off at 14:30.