Worthing 20 v 17 Chichester
After the spectacular semi-final win last week Chichester's young guns prepared for what they knew would be an equally tough cup final against Worthing, last year’s National U17 champions.
After the spectacular semi-final win the week before the Chichester young guns prepared for what they knew would be an equally tough cup final against last year’s National U17 champions Worthing. Although the Blues had gained a tight victory over Worthing at the beginning of the season they knew they would face a very different side with the Sussex Trophy at stake.
The coaching staff had a very difficult time selecting the side with everyone available and very strong numbers at training on both Tuesday and Thursday. What was fantastic was once the squad of 22 was announced a further 8 players travelled to Crowborough to cheer their team mates on. Chichester took a large number of supporters to the East Sussex club.
The game kicked off in blustery weather with the predicted rain holding off. The pitch was very hard with several rutted areas making life a little difficult for both teams. The Blues started well retrieving the ball from the kick off but as was to be a theme of the first half every good phase of play ended with a mistake and turn over ball to the yellows of Worthing. Tyrese Makasi however was to the fore in everything chasing down the ball , winning oppositon lineouts and going on some lightning breaks. But although he provided the inspiration the rest of the team were just forcing the ball a little and mistakes were being made. Worthing were very physical in defence with their pack counter rucking and disrupting Blue ball on several occasions. After 10 minutes, with another counter ruck, the Yellows launched a raid down the right hand side. One missed tackle and the overlap was on with Worthing scoring out wide. Conversion missed. Shortly after a penalty was conceded and they stretched their lead to 8 points. The Blues responded with a well struck penalty from Jack Martin to trail 3 - 8 after 20 minutes. The young Blues upped the tempo with Alex Margarson breaking hard backed up by Elliot Quinten. The lineout in the main worked well with Sam Henshall edging the battle in the air. With 15 minutes left of the first half the Blues were in the ascendency but two critical failures cost them dear. Firstly, a Chichester attack just inside the Yellow half came to an abrupt halt with the Blue player out wide stripped of the ball in the tackle and the Worthing player hared away. Good hands and they countered to go over for the 2nd try. Chichester fought back and won a kickable penalty but it just slipped wide of the post. Once again the Blues launched an attack moving the ball wide and starting to hit their straps but a poor offload back inside went straight into the hands of the gleeful Worthing No. 10. With almost the whole length of the field and the Chichester team having to turn he showed excellent pace to sprint all the way in. Suddenly, having been fairly even in possession and territory, the Blues were trailing 3 - 20 at half time.
Many teams would have buckled but not this team. Against the slope and the wind the Blues refused to give in. A couple of changes from the bench made a real difference with big Sam Drayson proving a real handful at scrum time with some huge surges in the loose and young Elliot Haydon playing a really assured game at fullback. The reshuffled back row were now getting on top with Tyrese Makasi having an amazing game followed very closely by skipper Will Prior and colossus Elliot Quniten. Chichester were putting huge pressure on the yellow defence. Alex Baxter went on a trademark run bouncing defenders aside as the penalties came in and eventually the Yellows lost their big second row to the sin bin. Chichester opted for the scrum and after a surge down the blindside Josh Goodwin sniped back open to score by the posts. A simple conversion to make it 10 - 20 with fifteen minutes to go. Chichester were straight back into it. With the backs pretty much cancelling each other out the Blue forwards were now dominating. A fantastic lineout take and huge surge the Yellows dragged it down but the blues ground forward .Makasi spotted the half gap and exploded through it evading two despairing tackles to not only score but get behind the posts. The Yellows didn’t know what had hit them. 17 - 20.
But time was running out with five or six minutes left the Blues threw everything at Worthing, unloading the bench to try and get the vital last score but it just wasn’t to be. The Worthing defence scrambled and just hung on. A titanic battle between two good sides but for a couple of mistakes the outcome could have been different.
Pony Moore - “We had enough ball but in the first half we just forced the pass too much but our second half performance was filled with character.”
And so the season, and indeed youth rugby for several players, ends. With a probable change in coaching structure next year I would just like to say thank you to all the players. The last 2 years have seen Chichester Colts become a real force in Sussex Rugby. This is down to players never giving up and commitment and support of some outstanding coaches - Pony Moore, Michael Margarson, Keith Martin and Mark Bonar. My thanks to them and particularly to Colts’ Manager Iain Collyer – it’s been a long hard and sometimes challenging but ultimately very rewarding season.
Paul Colley, Academy Director of Rugby
Man of the Match - Tyrese Makasi
Most Improved player - Harry Blatch
Forward of the Year - Tyrese Makasi
Back of the Year - Tom Ellis
Player’s Player - Tyrese Makasi
Player of the Season - Will Prior
Cup Final Squad: 1. Will Prior (capt.), 2. Joe Watts, 3. Luke Delaisse, 4. Harry Blatch, 5. Sam Henshall, 6. Ben Mahony, 7. Tyrese Makasi, 8. Elliot Quinten, 9. Josh Goodwin, 10. Jack Martin, 11. Rob Russell, 12. Tom Ellis, 13. Alex Margarson, 14. Alex Baxter, 15. Ned Renwick, 16. Alfie Montague, 17. Sam Dryson, 18. Cameron Moore, 19. Hamish Minton, 20. Ethan Lawrence, 21. Fergus Bonar, 22. Elliot Haydon, 23. Hayden Scott and 24. Alfie Paige.