Chichester 37 v 34 Old Colfeians
Chichester returned to Oaklands Park, on Saturday afternoon, for their first time home game in 5 weeks.
Chichester returned to Oaklands Park, on Saturday afternoon, for their first time home game in 5 weeks. The opposition were relegation threatened Old Colfeians who gave the Blues a severe test, losing 37 - 34, but left with the consolation of 2 bonus points. Chichester scored four converted tries and three penalties to Old Colfeians’ four converted tries and two penalties.
Chichester made two changes to the squad that travelled to Kent last time out with Martin O’Callaghan in the pack and Josh Goodwin on the bench. Ben Heber started on the wing with Joe Woods and Ed Grinstead dropping to the bench.
The match didn’t start well for Chichester who found themselves under the cosh from the kick-off. Having knocked on the Chichester pack found themselves heading backwards at a rate of knots. The referee signalled a free ball but Old Colfeians didn’t need any assistance and an interchange between the centres breached the Chichester defence for a try between the posts. Converted. 0 - 7 and less than 90 seconds on the clock. From the restart the Old Colfeians’ clearance kick went straight out giving Chichester a lineout on the 22 metre line. As the ball was moved across the pitch there was an infringement in the ruck and Chichester were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Converted. 3 - 7. The restart was kicked long and a clearance from Harry Seaman found space behind Old Colfeians’ defence. Ben Heber raced up the field and caught the full back inside the opposition 22. Old Colfeians attempted to run the ball out of defence but knocked on providing Chichester with the scrum. The ball was moved across the field and Old Colfeians were penalised, in front of the posts, for not rolling away. Converted. 6 - 7. From the restart Chichester’s clearance kick went straight out giving Old Colfeians a lineout just beyond the 22 metre line. They moved the ball across the field and this time it was Chichester who conceded the penalty in front of the posts for not releasing. Converted. 6 - 10. From the restart Chichester applied pressure forcing a knock on and winning a scrum. Ten phases later Aaron Davies burst through the Old Colfeians’ defence, making 25 yards, before being brought down 5 metres from the try line. Quick ball from Seaman found Ben Robson whose pass to Charlie Wallace created an overlap for Jack Hamilton-Fox to dot down in Vultures Corner. Converted. 13 - 10. Old Colfeians regrouped and threw everything at Chichester. Blues’ defence absorbed the pressure for over 5 minutes until their inside centre found a gap in the defence to score close to the posts. Converted. 13 - 17. Going behind appeared to spur Chichester on and they advanced towards Oaklands Pavilion putting the opposition under sustained pressure. Finally, a clever offload from Jack Arden-Brown created space for Aaron Davies to run through and score under the posts. Converted. 20 - 17. As the clock ran down both teams had opportunities but failed to increase their scores. Chris Johnson got within 5 metres of the try line and Old Colfeians’ right winger looked certain to score in the corner but was taken down by a Ben Robson cover tackle a couple of metres out. Half time.
Playing down the slope Chichester took the attack to the opposition but could not penetrate their defence. After 7 minutes there was an infringement close to the try line and the referee produced a yellow card reducing Old Colfeians to 14 men. Chichester opted for the try and Chris Johnson picked up the ball and dived across the line to score. Converted. 27 - 17. Chichester failed to secure the ball from the restart providing Old Colfeians with an attacking opportunity which resulted in an infringement by Blues. Converted. 27 - 20. For the next ten minutes Old Colfeians were kept in their own half as Blues looked to increase the score until the referee produced the yellow card for a high tackle. Chichester were now a man down. Old Colfeians made use of the advantage and within three minutes had scored their third try. Converted. 27 - 27. However, the advantage was short lived! From the restart Chichester moved the ball across the field towards the opposition try line. Robson, Sam Renwick and Hamilton-Fox combined to provide a pass to Heber on the touch line. The young speedster beat the first man, cut inside and was tackled just short of the try line. Old Colfeians infringed at the ruck, the referee produced the third yellow card of the match, and both teams were now down to 14 players. Chichester kicked to the corner and Davies won the line out. Heber was stopped short and Josh Goodwin, on as a replacement for Seaman, fed Charlie Wallace to dive over for Chichester’s fourth try and a bonus point. Converted. 34 - 27 and 12 minutes to play. Old Colfeians seemed to sense that victory could still be theirs and upped the tempo. A promising attack was halted 5 metres out when they inexplicably conceded a penalty. Then disaster! A Chichester pass was intercepted for a simple run in for Old Colfeians’ fourth try and a bonus point. Converted. 34 - 34. Whilst the Old Colfeians’ fly half was converting the try, and with only 6 minutes left to play, Chichester’s captain Jack Bentall was rallying his team. At the restart Old Colfeians won the ball but then conceded a penalty 25 metres out. Tom Hutchin stepped up and slotted it through the uprights to make it a perfect 7 from 7. 37 - 34 and still three minutes left. Old Colfeians won the ball at the restart and headed purposefully towards Vultures Corner. The ball was knocked on after a great tackle from Ed Grinstead and Chichester were able to clear their lines. In the final play of the game Chichester’s pack took the ball against the head allowing Goodwin to kick to touch and end the game. Final score 37 - 34.
Old Colfeians will have been disappointed to leave Oaklands park with only 2 bonus points, but they do live to fight another day if they beat Maidstone in the final game of the season and Thurrock lose at Cobham. They provided Chichester with a stern test home and away and we hope to see them next season.
Chichester squad: Deavall, Arden-Brown, Belcher, O’Callaghan, Blount, Davies, Wallace, Johnson C, Seaman, Hutchin, Robson, Bentall (capt.), Renwick, Heber, Hamilton-Fox, Woods, Grinstead and Goodwin.
Chichester’s final game of the season is away against Sevenoaks on Saturday the 21st of April. Kick-off is at 15:00.