1st XV
Sat 03 Feb 2024  ·  Regional 2 South Central
Chichester Rugby Football Club
1st XV
Chichester 52 v 21 Reading

Chichester 52 v 21 Reading

Simon Tanner5 Feb - 12:26
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Blues put the Witney disappointment behind them....

On Saturday afternoon, Chichester welcomed bottom of the table Reading to Oaklands Park. Blues made 6 changes to the team that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Witney, last time out, with Liam Barker and Josh Brown coming into the pack, Isikeli Waqa and Tom Blewitt joining the backs and Jay Manly and Ed Hansell on the bench.

On an overcast afternoon with a south westerly breeze blowing across the firm pitch, Chichester kicked off down the slope into Reading’s red zone. Rather than clear with the boot the visitors played the ball across their backline where it was intercepted and passed out to Joel Andrews to score in the corner. Conversion missed. 5 - 0 and less than a minute on the clock. Blues then conceded a penalty at the first scrum of the afternoon and Reading were on the scoreboard. 5 - 3. The visitors were next to infringe and the penalty kick went out on the 22 metre line. Having secured the lineout ball, Chichester’s pack mauled towards the try line, with the backs joining in, and Richard Ives dotting down. Converted by Elliott Haydon. 12 - 3 after 10 minutes. A long kick up the pitch was taken by Josh Stops and moved quickly across the pitch to Haydon and onto Tom Blewitt who majestically sliced through the Reading defence on a 45 metre run, to the red zone. Stops was in support for the offload and a try under the posts. Converted by Haydon. 19 - 3. The response from the visitors was immediate and over the next 22 minutes they took the game to Chichester forcing a series of infringements at the breakdown that saw them score a converted try and 2 penalties to close the score to 19 - 16 after 36 minutes. In the final minute of the half, Napolioni Rabale took a long kick from the Reading full back, passed it across to Stops who released Blewitt on the touchline for another blistering run before he was forced into touch. Zac Conley stole the ball at the lineout and the forwards once again mauled towards the try line, with Richard Ives touching down for his second try and a bonus point. Converted by Haydon.

Half time and 26 - 16 and the Chi faithful concerned about the number of penalties conceded.

From the restart Chichester were immediately under pressure in the red zone with further penalties being conceded. With Reading unable to get their maul to roll, they switched to pick and goes and finally got the ball over the line. Conversion hit the post. 26 - 21 after 45 minutes and Chichester with a player sent to the sin bin. Despite being a player down, Blues took the game to Reading and were awarded a penalty with Haydon’s kick finding touch on the 5 metre line. A short throw saw Josh Brown get within a metre of the line before being stopped illegally. The ball was spun out and collected by a charging Charlie Davies who brushed aside 2 tacklers to score under the posts. Converted by Haydon. 33 - 21 with Reading losing a player to the sin bin. On 62 minutes Haydon broke from halfway making 30 metres before the visitors’ scrambling defence stopped his advance, but an offload to Andrews saw the young winger dot down in Vulture’s Corner for his second try. Converted by Haydon. 40 - 21. It only took Blues 6 minutes to increase their lead. From a lineout in the red zone Chichester elected to release their backs, rather than maul the ball to the line, but it only got as far as fly half Haydon who jinked through a gap in the defence to score under the posts. Converted by Haydon. 47 - 21. With less than 2 minutes left Chichester found themselves defending a scrum on their 5 metre line. Despite Reading’s earlier dominance in the tight, they conceded a freekick and a monster wind assisted kick from Haydon found the visitor’s full back isolated and caught by Napolioni. The ball was moved quickly, from one touchline to the other, into the hands of Blewitt who took the ball in to contact 5 metres out, allowing Andrews to pick up and nip in by the corner flag for his hat trick. Conversion missed.

Full time, 52 - 21. A massive team performance that saw 8 tries scored and 5 points secured in a must win match, which sees Chichester leapfrog Newbury in the table and close the gap to Wimborne.

Man of the Match was Tom Blewitt.

Chichester squad: Barker, Ives, Brown, Conley, Waqanisau, Hunter, Binfield, Heriot, Stops, Haydon, Andrews, Waqa, Davies, Rabale, Blewitt, Manly, Amin and Hansell.

Chichester’s next match is on Saturday, 17th of February, away at Wimborne. Kick off is 14:30.

Match details

Match date

Sat 03 Feb 2024




Regional 2 South Central

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