Chichester sink Sidcup to stay top of table

Lewis Harte about to go over for Chichester's final try  Picture by Warwick Baker / www.warwickpics.co.uk
Lewis Harte about to go over for Chichester's final try Picture by Warwick Baker / www.warwickpics.co.uk

Chichester played very well to win 24-8 against Sidcup strong opponents who were fifth in the London one south table and had won three out of four away games.

The contest was really won in the first half when Chichester were in the driving seat and scored two tries while the visitors missed two penalties.

Sidcup pressed in the second period but a combination of their own mistakes and good Chichester defence restricted them to a single try.

The final tally was four Chichester tries and and two conversions to a Sidcup try and penalty. So another bonus was achieved and Blues remain two points ahead at the top of the table.

With Tom Belcher and Richard Adams injured, Mark Giddings was hooker and Henry Anscombe moved to fly-half. Dean Morris came in at full-back and Lewis Harte made his home debut on the left wing.

Chi went straight on the attack and there was promising movement with frontfoot ball. However there was a shock when Niall Goldie was sinbinned at a ruck for first offence.

Right winger Rory Tanner broke along the touchline and Chi got across the try line but a foot had strayed out.

A Sidcup attack was turned over and Jack Bentall fed Dean Morris, who sent a delightful chip over the top into empty space. Tanner and Ed Durkin carried it on and final pass went to Phil Dickin to score the first try in style. Anscombe converted.

The lineout was working efficiently with accurate throws by Giddings and salmon leaps by the reliable Nick Blount, who started to disrupt Sidcup.

Anscombe delivered a fine touch kick and Harte had a darting run. The maul got going in Sidcup’s 22 but was held near the line.

A crooked feed by the Sidcup at a five-metre scrum led to a quick tap penalty, a thrust by Phil Veltom and the ball sent out to Bentall to link with Morris and dive over for 12-0.

Sidcup followed a high kick, Chi were robbed and then went offside to give away a penalty, kicked by fly-half Montgomery.

Both teams’ catches were impressive despite a wet pitch. The Blues twice infringed at rucks but Sidcup missed both penalties to leave it 12-3 at the break.

Anscombe sent a wonderful long penalty kick to Vulture’s corner and Chi used their magic to power over with Giddings pressing down for the third try.

Sidcup’s pack was competitive but Chi’s support play in the loose had been superior.

The Kent team rolled up their sleeves and went deep into Chi’s 22. Their maul was held near the line and although Chi were twice penalised there was no breach and then Sidcup transgressed at their scrum.

Harte made a brave mark to keep Sidcup’s backs at bay and firm tackles and clearances weathered the storm.

Chi counter-attacked and drove downfield, a knock-on ruining a good chance.

Sidcup lock Cooper got through a gap but was penalised for holding on in the tackle. Chi advanced in force but a pass was delayed in the centre with the winger waiting to go.

Chi were penalised at the ruck and Ryan Doyle received what appeared to be a team yellow card. This time Sidcup made their extra man count as they mauled over from penalty and lineout, Thomson touching down. The conversion was missed and it was 17-8.

The Blues were stung and hurtled to Sidcup’s ten-metre line with lineouts and pick and gos. The maul followed but was stopped by the referee for ‘truck and trailer’.

A battle continued in midfield and replacement Gingell was now giving Chi the edge in the tight.

Sidcup’s line throwing was erratic and although their pack made good yards they might have given their big centres more of the ball. When it was shipped out, the support was missing as they ran into tackles.

Chi finished strongly as Moses Kasujja charged through but his pass was overrun outside him. Then the final counter-attack with speed and good passing fom Doyle to Bentall and on to Harte. The winger completed his impressive performance by haring along the touchline, swerving past the last tackle and going around the posts in celebration.

A bonus point was Chi’s and the conversion made the final score 24-8.

The Blues rest this week but Saturday week, November 23, brings another big game away to Sutton & Epsom (2.30pm). All support will be welcome as Chi try to keep ahead of the pack.

BLUES: Turner, Giddings, Veltom, Blount, Dickin, Goldie, Polhill, Kasujja, Durkin, Anscombe, Harte, Bentall, Doyle, Tanner, Morris, Gingell, Renwick, Cook.

ROGER GOULD