CHICHESTER made the long trip to Hertford with a number of first-team regulars missing through injury and sickness.
The sides were locked on the same points in the table heading into the encounter and, after, losing to Hertford earlier in the campaign, they knew it would be a tough battle.
Hertford came out of the blocks quicker as some indifferent tackling from the visitors gifted their opponents a good field position.
Chichester had lock Jon Lindsay to thank for keeping the scores level early on, following a fantastic tackle.
After weathering the early storm, the Blues forced their way up the field and opened the scoring with a penalty conversion.
Chichester looked to up the pace after going in front but they found it difficult as a series of off-the-ball incidents began to sour the game.
Hertford sensed their chance and as the half wore on they started to get the better of exchanges.
The home side’s kicking was exceptional and the swirling wind caused panic in the Chichester ranks.
Chichester were finding it difficult to deal with numerous threats coming from Hertford and began to conceded scores.
First, the home side levelled after a penalty conversion and then they secured a try followed by a conversion to make it 13-3 at the break.
Chichester did not get off to the best of starts in the second period and Hertford dominated for a 20 minute spell.
A mix of some really poor defending from the Blues, coupled with some fine attacking play saw the home side begin to pull away.
Hertford bagged three tries in quick succession to take a 27-3 lead.
The home crowd were delighted with their side’s efforts and Chichester knew it would take something special to claw themselves back in the match.
With the Blues squad stretched to breaking point they began an unlikely comeback.
Tom Lowe broke away with the ball before finding Tom Golds who went over to reduce the deficit to 27-10.
Hertford regrouped well, though, and they secured field position, before forcing a penalty open up a 20 point lead.
The Blues were not going to go down without a fight and Chichester’s pack had the bit between their teeth.
A series of impressive driving lineouts forced Hertford onto the back-foot and gave Chichester the advantage.
The visitors did manage to secure another try with just under two minutes to go as the score was 30-24.
Any hopes of a remarkable comeback were dashed as Hertford were awarded a penalty, which drifted wide, but they held on for the victory.
Chichester’s director of rugby Paul Colley was disappointed with the defeat and said: “We are pretty disappointed for a number of reasons.
“The performance in the last 20 minutes restored a massive amount of pride, especially with the players we had missing for the game.
“We showed in this game that we have a great fight and spirit as a side.
“Nick Shopland stepped up without a second thought to help his club.
“And Andy Gray and Leon Driscoll both came back from long term injuries to give the side an added boost.”
Chichester sit a healthy sixth in the table despite this reverse. They have no game this week.
CHICHESTER: Shopland, Shopland Belcher Lindsay Meachin Johnson Polhill, Dickin, Durkin, Marsh, Jackson, Polhill, Lowe, Robson, Golds. Subs:Dowding, Gray, Driscoll.