It’s scrappy - but Blues bag a big bonus

C130296-6 Spt Rug Chicolt  phot kate
C130296-6 Spt Rug Chicolt phot kate

The good news is Chichester won their 11th home game in a row and gained a very necessary bonus point, beating Old Colfeians 24-5 in London one south.

The bad news is it was a scrappy contest littered with mistakes and stoppages. The Blues scored four tries and two conversions to a try.

OCs seemed intent on damage limitation and manned the barricades with tough tackles and a couple of illegal weapons. They frustrated the home side, who were denied another try and probably deserved two penalty tries. As Basingstoke hammered Cobham, league positions are unchanged with Chi two points ahead in second.

Chi welcomed back Andy Gray to the bench and Alex Grace replaced sick Niall Goldie. On a hard pitch, a bonus-point win was vital.

Richard Adams started the attacks up the right wing with a big penalty kick to the right corner but the first lineout was lost. He tried a chip over the top in the next move but the ball rolled too far.

Charlie Laflin ran well on the left wing but was forced into touch. No8 Moses Kasujja smashed through and was tackled inches short, OCs deliberately infringing to stop the try - and their captain was given the first lecture from the referee.

A raid along the touchline was spoilt by a foot out and two others broke down when penalties were given away at the rucks. Ash Wheeler,Joe Woods, Ben Polhill and Phil Veltom led another charge towards the try line and OCs infringed twice more, resulting in the sin bin for the captain at tight head.

Chi controlled the penalty scrum, Kasujja picked up at the back and was unstoppable for the first try. The conversion was missed narrowly.

The Blues mauled forward from their lineout, OCs pulled it down and another yellow card was brandished. They drove over the line with Gray pressing down under the bodies but the referee was unsighted and awarded a five-metre scrum.

They got their due reward with the ball spun across for outside centre Tim Cook to step inside and touchdown. The conversion missed, it was 10-0.

More slick handling saw Laflin tackled out and Chi again penalised. OCs showed some adventure with the backs running at last but they also conceded a penalty. The first half ended with OCs knocking on at their 22 and Polhill snaffling the ball to brush aside tackles and score under the posts.Adams converted for a 17-0 interval lead.

The referee was blowing the whistle frequently and it was to get worse as the penalty count grew and mistakes multiplied.

OCs made a more positive start to the second period and won two scrums five metres out, but the Chi pack took the second and Billy Toone cleared with a great kick.

University player Laflin showed his speed again on the end of a backs move but a strong covering tackle was made.

Chi were overdoing things in the middle instead of quick transfer to the wings as they went for the fourth try and ignored points from penalties. Kasujja and Polhill went close before OCs seemed to be offside at a Chi corner lineout but somehow earned a penalty to clear.

After words had been exchanged with the referee an OC was given his second yellow card and a red and left the pitch for good.

Chi put a penalty to the right corner, mauled strongly and Veltom broke free to crash over and secure the bonus. A fine conversion by Adams made it 24-0.

The final quarter was poor but OCs got a consolation try in the corner when Chi disrupted the lineout throw five metres out but knocked on, and advantage was played for an OC to touch down. The well-struck conversion attempt hit the upright.

Chi scrummed from five metres and as Toone ran to touch down he was clearly tugged back by the arm - but the referee didn’t see it.

Sam Renwick burst through the centre twice but went for glory with men outside him.nToone and Gray hammered on the door as Chi strove for greater reward. Forwards and backs piled in but too frantically when control was needed.

Director of rugby Paul Colley said: “We achieved our aim of maximum league points. However, we did play a rather mediocre game hampered by strange decisions against us and by many offences which succeeded in containing the final score. We will need to play much better in the crunch game at Wimbledon this week.” Kick-off is at 3pm and all support will be a great help. There will be spaces on the team coach.

CHICHESTER: Wheeler, Woods, Veltom, Crawford, Blount, Grace, Polhill, Kasujja, Toone, Adams, Jackson, Bentall, Cook, Laflin, Golds, Gray, O’Callaghan, Renwick.

ROGER GOULD