Chichester Colts 27 v 14 Horsham Colts
The Colts are through to the final of the Sussex Cup for the second time in two years. Match report by Paul Colley.
The Colts took on Horsham, the unbeaten and current Sussex Premier League champions, on Sunday in the eagerly awaited Sussex Cup semi -final. Having played Horsham only 3 weeks ago in the winner takes all Premier League contest Chichester knew how good their opponents were, losing on that day eventually by 7 tries to 6 and with it the Premier League title. This was chance for revenge but it would need to be a special performance.
The players took to the field in excellent conditions and a large crowd including many supporters from Horsham. The young Blues started well carrying hard and winning good ball however the rub of the green really didn’t go Chichester's way with a run of penalties against them. The Greens of Horsham were very canny at the break down and sneaked a couple of dubious penalties. With the turnover in ball, the game swung Horsham’s way and with good lineout and loose ball they started to attack dangerously. That said the Blues were up for the task with some tremendous defence. One tackle from Margarson was a thunder bolt and Blatch, as he was to all day, made crunching tackle after crunching tackle. The home side weathered the storm but just to show the individual attacking threat from a good lineout the Horsham 9 showed his class with an excellent dummy and he was over. The very good away 10 slotted the extras. 0 - 7 with 10 minutes gone. The Blues regrouped and with Quinten and Prior carrying hard they constantly forced the Greens back, eventually forcing the penalty. Jack Martin slotted the 3 points. 3 - 7. The Blues now looked to up the tempo with Watts now on at hooker showing his pace and hitting the Blue jumpers at lineout time. It was a titanic battle in the loose with Horsham’s back row competing hard. However, as the half wore on Chichester drove well sucking in defenders and slick moving from the backs put young Elliot Haydn through just wide of the right hand post. Martin entertained the crowd by bouncing the conversion in off the post. 10 - 7. Both sides were still going at it hammer and tongs but no more scores at the half time break.
The second half started very much like the first with the Blues really gaining excellent territory and Jack Martin going on a couple of nice run and Josh Goodwin pulling the strings from scrum half. But as with the first half Horsham only needed one missed tackle to create a chance. The replacement back row breached a couple of soft tackles and their backs were away scorching in between the posts. 10 - 14. 20 minutes to go and it was all to play for. Tyrese Makasi was everywhere in defence and attack surging up the pitch. Tom Ellis made a couple of excellent breaks to keep the Blues going forward. They forced a penalty only 5m into the Green half. It looked like a real gamble to go for the kick but Martin struck it beautifully as it sailed through the posts. 13 - 14. The game was now on a knife edge. Chichester stuck to their structures and to a man stepped up in defence, piling the pressure on the away side. But for all of the fantastic efforts from the whole team the game was now going into its final stages and Chichester were still behind by a point. The Blues made a couple of changes and then an enforced change through injury. The home side just would not be dissuaded and kept fighting hard. From another very solid scrum with only a few minutes left Josh Goodwin made a lighting break with the cover coming in on him he chipped perfectly for the onrushing Margarson to sprint through and win the chase for the ball. Martin converted. 20 - 14. All the Blues raced to cheer the scorer. However, there was still a minute to play. Thumping tackles avalanched on the Green players to force the turnover and then great keep ball. Another break, another chip through and amazingly that man Margarson hunted down the ball to score another. 27 - 14 and jubilation.
Paul Colley, Director of Rugby - “A fantastic team performance. Horsham were a very good side but I think we just deserved it on the day”.
So the Blues are through to the final two years running after a gap of many years previously. They face Worthing, the same opponents as last year, who will be packed with high quality players. A massive challenge awaits the young guns.
The final is this Sunday 30th, April at Crowbrough RFC with kick off at 14:00.
The lads need as much support as possible so please try and get over to cheer them on. There will be coach leaving Chichester Rugby Club at 10:15am for those of you who wish to soak up the atmosphere. Please let Iain Collyer know if you’d like to travel on the coach.