Sevenoaks 44 v 26 Chichester
On Saturday afternoon Chichester made their third visit to Kent, in the space of 4 weeks, to play Sevenoaks in the final game of the season.
On Saturday afternoon Chichester made their third visit to Kent in the space of 4 weeks to play Sevenoaks in the final game of the season. Sevenoaks, who would improve their league position with victory, if Chobham lost, ran out 44 - 26 winners. Chichester scored four tries and three conversions, to Sevenoaks’ five converted tries and three penalties, and left Kent with a bonus point.
Chichester made five changes to the squad that beat Old Colfeians last time out with Sam Drayson and Will Maxfield in the pack, Toby Golds at full back and Ollie Charlish and Ed Hounsell on the bench. The weather was excellent and a large crowd in summer rig watched from the balcony. In addition, a contingent of Blues’ supporters had travelled up from the south coast by charabanc to provide vocal encouragement from the sideline.
The match didn’t start well and Chichester found themselves under pressure from the kick-off with Sevenoaks securing the ball. Slick passing opened up the Chichester defence and Sevenoaks scored a simple try under the posts. Converted. 7 - 0 and less than 3 minutes on the clock. It only took Chichester another 4 minutes to reply. Ben Robson received the ball and used his strength and speed to outmuscle and outpace the Sevenoaks defence and cross the whitewash. Converted 7 - 7. From the restart Chichester recycled the ball and slick handling across the backs saw Jack Hamilton-Fox on his way to round the Sevenoaks defence and dot down. Converted. 7 - 14. Eight minutes gone and the Chichester supporters with high expectations! For the next twenty minutes both teams played entertaining rugby and a combination of great defence and handling errors prevented either from adding to their score. The best chance came from Ben Heber who took on two Sevenoaks’ defenders down the touchline to score in the corner, only for the referee to rule (harshly) that a foot was in touch. After 30 minutes a well executed move created a gap in the Blues’ defence and Sevenoaks scored their second try. Converted. 14 - 14. With a couple of minutes left of the first half a Chichester infringement at the breakdown provided Sevenoaks with a penalty which was kicked. 17 - 14. Half time.
After only two minutes of the second half the referee produced a yellow card and Chichester found themselves playing with 14 men. Sevenoaks elected to kick the penalty. 20 - 14. Chichester defended resolutely but conceded another penalty before returning to a full complement. 23 - 14. The advantage swung towards Blues and after 10 minutes of sustained pressure Hamilton-Fox outpaced the opposition for his second try. Converted. 23 - 21. 58 minutes gone and Chichester back in the game. And then disaster! The referee produced his yellow card and Chichester were down to 14 men again. It only took Sevenoaks three minutes to work an opening in the Chichester defence to score their third try. Converted. 30 - 21. Sevenoaks applied further pressure and were rewarded with their bonus point try. Converted. 37 - 21. Just before Chichester returned to their full complement the referee produced his yellow card again and Sevenoaks found themselves playing out the match with 14 men. As the clock ran down Ben Heber scored Chichester’s bonus point try. Conversion missed. 37 - 26. Could Chichester take advantage of the extra man and overhaul Sevenoaks? It was not to be as the Sevenoaks pack drove Chichester back to score again. Converted. 44 - 26.
Full time and the end of a season that saw Chichester use 59 players. It looks as though it is farewell to Jack Arden-Brown and Jack Bentall, but several exciting young players made 1st XV debuts during the season. We also say goodbye to Gravesend, Old Colfeians and Maidstone who drop out of London 1 South and CS Rugby who return to Level 5, after a 3 year absence. We also wish Medway good luck in the play off match against Chingford from London 1 North. Next season will see at least 4 trips to Kent with Westcombe Park and Dartfordians joining Chichester in London 1 South.
Chichester squad: Drayson, Arden-Brown, Maxfield, O’Callaghan, Blount, Grinsted, Wallace (capt.), Johnson C, Seaman, Heber, Hutchin, Robson, Renwick, Hamilton-Fox, Golds, Woods, Charlish and Hounsell.