Battling Blues storm back to form at Guildford

Chichester in action at Guildford / Picture by Alison Tanner
Chichester in action at Guildford / Picture by Alison Tanner

Chichester produced their best form in storming to a bonus-point 27-6 win at Guildford with spirit and determination.

Their forwards dominated the National three London south east game with great energy and the backs helped in setting up positions for four tries plus two conversions and a penalty.

Blues are now set on their clear mission to climb away from the relegation threat and in this game they built on the confidence from their narrow loss against high-flying Wimbledon.

The return from injury of inspirational Chris Johnson helped the pack to be a strong welded unit in both the tight and loose.

The quick service and long touch kicks from Henry Anscombe earned territory and apart from the first ten minutes and the last five, the mid- table Surrey team were outplayed.

Chi dealt with early pressure in their 22, drove their opponents back and kept their foot firmly on the pedal. Their happy band of supporters returned home with five-point smiles after this first away triumph.

A raking Anscombe penalty to the left corner gave Chi more five-metre drive mauls with Grace inches short but the reliable Belcher touched down for the bonus try near the posts.

Richard Adams was at fly-half, Taff Davies full-back. Alex Grace joined Nick Blount at lock for Johnson to join Jack Bentall and Aaron Davies in the back row.

Guildford had won their last two and pressed from the start and, supplied by scrums and lineouts, their backs handled across the pitch.

Their pack drove close to the line but the Chi defence stood firm and the tackles were made in time. A final knock-on gave a clearance to Chi and they never looked back.

They advanced to the other end with powerful carrying and the backs got going. An Anscombe kick and follow-up tackle gave the chance for the scrum to take over ten metres out.

Guildford held out three times but an attempted clearance kick was charged down and they were forced to carry back over their own line. This time from five metres, Johnson was unstoppable and he plunged over for the first try. A difficult conversion was missed.

The hosts replied with a successful penalty for an offence after the drop out, making it 5-3 to Chi.

Johnson and Davies ran hard from scrums and prop Tom Belcher broke through supported by Blount. The movement continued along the left flank and Chi were awarded another scrum.

Johnson picked up at the back and somehow crashed across, shaking tacklers from his legs. The conversion was missed from wide out.

The Chi scrum was penalised for something in the front row and the Guildford inside-centre slotted his second kick. He also tried another at a critical point just before the break but missed from 30 metres, so it was 10-6 at half-time.

An Adams high kick forced a scrum and more sterling work by the forwards, followed by a penalty to the right corner, lineout and scrum and a big surge moving smoothly into the centre.

The back row drove on and the whole pack shoved as a unit for Grace to press down over the line and under the posts. It was converted by Taff Davies.

Anscombe launched the next attack and after one penalty was missed from 35 metres, Davies landed another following strong running by Bentall and replacement left winger Matt Woodhouse – 20-6.

Blues were completely on top and the backs had good runs with Rhys Thompson and Adams trying mazy steps but not penetrating. The lineout was immaculate and Blount was soaring at the middle, complementing Davies near the front.

At the coalface Ben Deavall, Mark Giddings, Tom Belcher and replacement Sean Shepherd can be proud of their work.

A kick along the left touch saw Harry Seaman race to pick up with the try line open 30 metres away but he was tackled in time.

A penalty by Guildford was well caught by Woodhouse near touch and was followed by the backs in action and the supporting Johnson just failing with a reverse offload which could have led to another try.

A raking Anscombe penalty to the left corner gave Chi more five-metre drive mauls with Grace inches short but the reliable Belcher touched down for the bonus try near the posts. It was converted by Taff Davies to make it 27-6.

With a few minutes left, Guildford tried hard to get a consolation try and attacked in force for the only time in the half, and Chi received a yellow card at a breakdown.

Another attempt failed because of a knock-on and a kick to the Chi try line went too long. Chi cleared their lines and celebrated as the whistle blew.

This week they must repeat this form to beat Colchester, who are just as strongly motivated to stay in a league where there are no weak teams. Kick-off is 2pm at Oaklands Park. Be there, Blues supporters – you are all needed and expected.

Chichester: Deavall, Giddings, Belcher, Blount, Grace, Bentall (capt), Johnson, A Davies, Anscombe, Adams, Seaman, Farmer, Thompson, Evans, O Davies, Shepherd, Dickin, Woodhouse.

ROGER GOULD

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