Chichester 11 v 17 Dartfordians
With both teams at the wrong end of the table this was going to be a fiercely contested match.
Chichester made 8 changes to the team that beat Havant, in a pulsating local derby, last time out. Adam Geal, Josh Cameron, Luke Kemish, Henry Lock and Tyrese Makasi came into the pack with Kieran Richter, Joe Knight and Fin Bamber on the bench. Martin O’Callaghan took over the captaincy in Charlie Wallace’s absence.
After a glorious week on the south coast the game started in near monsoon conditions. With both teams at the wrong end of the table this was going to be a fiercely contested match.
Chichester kicked off down the slope and immediately put Dartfordians under pressure with some strong running and slick passing. A trade mark charge from Chris Johnson was illegally stopped and Charlie Norton slotted the penalty. 3 - 0 after 4 minutes. From the restart the opposition secured the ball and advanced into the Blues’ half. At the first scrum it was clear that Chichester were going to struggle to compete with Dartfordians’ pack. An infringement allowed Blue’s to clear their lines and the kick found touch. From the lineout Gareth Davies kicked long for Rhys Thompson to chase. Hesitation from the defender, waiting for the ball to cross the line, allowed Thompson to dot down. Conversion missed. 8 - 0 and 9 minutes on the clock. From the restart Dartfordians attacked and soon had Chichester under pressure. An infringement provided the opposition with an opportunity in kicking range which passed between the posts. 8 - 3. Blues’ pack were having a torrid time in the scrum and were giving away cheap penalties. Dartfordians kicked for touch but the throw wasn’t straight. The ball was stolen at the Chichester lineout and the opposition’s driving maul headed for the try line. Dartfordians went through the phases and eventually crossed the line but some spirited Chichester defending prevented the ball from being grounded. Chichester were pushed back from the 5 metre scrum and collapsed, resulting in a penalty try. 8 - 10 with 25 minutes gone. Blue’s woes continued when the restart went straight in to touch and they were penalised from the subsequent scrum. Dartfordians’ fly half kicked from distance and it went just wide. Blues had several forays into the opposition half with strong running from Johnson, Sam Renwick and Harry Seaman. Thompson also made a blistering 30 metre run that alluded the opposition defence, and looked a certain try, until he was brought down just inside the opposition 22 by a last ditch tackle from the full back. The first half ended early with an injury to one of Chichester’s second row. Half time. 8 - 10.
Play was suspended for 25 minutes because of the injury and the second half was played on the 2nd XV pitch. The second half started with the Chichester conceding a penalty at the scrum which Dartfordians kicked to the corner. From the lineout a simple drive across the line, in the corner, provided their second try and a very good conversion from out wide. 8 - 17. At this point the small band of Chichester faithful, braving the elements on the touchline, feared the worse. However, Blues picked themselves up and put Dartfordians under significant pressure, keeping them hemmed in the opposition 22 for an extended period. After multiple phases Chichester crossed the try line but the ball was deemed to be held up, allowing Dartfordians to relieve the pressure with a long kick to touch. With the exception of the scrum both sides were fairly evenly matched and for 15 minutes neither team could break the deadlock. An infringement from Dartfordians gave Norton another opportunity, which he kicked. 11 - 17 with 17 minutes left. The Chichester supporters sensed that a victory could still be possible as Dartfordians started to look a little rattled, losing composure and giving away cheap penalties. However, it was not to be. With the clock running down a 50 metre run from the Dartfordians’ winger was tackled in to touch, close to the try line, by Norton and Matt McLagan. Dartfordians stole the ball at the lineout and kicked in to touch ending the game, rather than attempting to drive over and deny Chichester the losing bonus point. Perhaps a decision they may regret next April? Full time. 11 - 17.
An entertaining game of rugby played in really atrocious conditions. Chichester’s injured second row was taken to hospital as a precaution and is now recuperating at home. Many thanks for Dartfordians’ good wishes and to their physio who looked after both teams in the second half, as Jamie Thompson attended to the injured player. Chichester have now used 39 players in only 6 matches. It is hoped that the 2 week break will provide sufficient time for some of the injured players to return.
The supporter’s man of the match was Rhys Thompson.
Chichester squad: Geal, Cameron, Maxfield, Kemish, Lock, Johnson, Makasi, O’Callaghan (Captain), Seaman, Davies, Golds, Thompson, Renwick, McLagan, Norton, Richter, Knight and Bamber.
Next Saturday (13th of October) there is no game. Chichester return to action on 20th of October away to high flying Brighton. Kick-off is at 15:00.