Rugby: Slow start - but Blues hit Beck

C130191-4 Spt Rug Chibeck  phot kate
C130191-4 Spt Rug Chibeck phot kate

Chichester achieved another double and a bonus point with a strong and determined second-half display to overcome Beckenham 31-10 in London one south.

It was their tenth consecutive home win and by an amazing coincidence the third consecutive game in which they scored 31 points, each time with five tries and three conversions.

Becks played well in the first half and deserved their 10-7 lead at the break .Psyched up by their constant and irritating shouting to one another, they rocked the Blues with hard rucking and fierce tackling.

It took Chi a while to adjust but the forwards changed the game completely and with good scrummaging, lineout work and concerted driving mauls they finished well on top. They are two points ahead of Basingstoke, who won at Dover but failed to get a bonus point.

Blues had debutant university players Tom Crawford at lock and Charlie Laflin on the left wing. Phil Veltom returned at tight-head prop, Tim Cook was at outside centre and Tom Jackson switched to full-back.

It was raining and the pitch had muddy patches. Chi should have accepted from the outset it was not a great day for expansive tactics.

The Kent visitors announced their intention with a cavalry charge from Chi’s kick-off, taking them across midfield. Henry Luxton had his first run but his kick ahead went dead.

Nick Blount caught at the top of the lineout to set up a drive to the line but Chi were repelled and turned over. The battle for possession began with Becks really up for confrontation and their backs lying hard up on the offside line to disrupt in the centre.

Ben Polhill and Crawford made breaks from rucks but with no support at their shoulders. Chi started to infringe on the ground and Becks went to the right corner and then spun out to their backs, winning a penalty which was easily kicked by fly-half Curr.

Billy Toone and Jackson made ground but at the ruck Chi were turned over again. Laflin was forced into touch at the end of a passing move.|Chi were trying to run and handle but it was sticky and inside centre Jack Bentall was given no space to swerve and use his hand off.

A passing move was smartly intercepted by Becks winger Hersey, who ran from his own 22 to score at the other end, just managing to evade a last-ditch tackle. Curr converted to make it 10-0.

A good kick over the top nearly put Becks across again at the right corner but a pass went forward. Chi stirred five minutes before the break. No8 Moses Kasujja broke through and a promising move was spoilt by a deliberate knock-on by a Becks prop, who was sin-binned.

Another cynical infringement stopped a drive into Vultures’ Corner. A penalty, lineout and second controlled drive enabled Kasujja to pick up and he was unstoppable from five metres. Fly-half Anscombe kicked a impressive conversion.

After the break, the Blues returned to the fray and their supporters got behind them. Blount carried forward and Anscombe’s towering penaly kick to touch brought a try after two minutes. A catch and drive saw Joe Woods smash tackles to dive over. The conversion was narrowly missed.

The Blues were clicking but there was a nightmare moment when a kick hit a Becks man and rebounded nicely into the hands of another. He raced 60m down the left touchline and only a superb tackle by Luxton saved a certain try, taking his man into touch near the flag.

Chi’s replacements were on as they upped the tempo. The front row of Woods, Dane Gingell and Veltom were shoving their opponents back in the scrum and the back row making the most of it, Niall Goldie and Polhill stealing loose ball and Kasujja always getting over the gain line.

They camped on the Becks 22 and Billy Toone caught them napping with a very quick tap penalty and some trademark jinking to score an excellent try next to the posts. Toby Golds converted -19-10.

Chi turned the screw with the Becks scrum going backwards. Slick passing from the resulting quick ball nearly put Jackson across and Becks were penned in the right corner. A scrum won against the head, Kasujja was there once more to crash over, with the conversion missed.

Becks full-back Santamaria did very well with his fielding and running out of defence as he tried to stem the tide, but some of his team-mates were tiring under the pressure.

Golds entered the line at top speed on a great line to the posts but slipped on a mud patch and was stopped five metres out. The pack had the last say with another confident drive finished off by Phil Dickin and converted by Golds.

Jackson had one more solid tackle to make as a gallant Becks escaped from their 22.

Head coach Rob Lawrence said: “We introduced some fresh young faces and they did well. It was certainly a game of two halves.

“We were slow out of the blocks but our work-rate increased to deal with ferocious defence. The right attitude and desire was shown in the second half, core skills improved and our fitness was important.”

This week Chi have a huge game at Sidcup, always strong at home. All support would be appreciated, with room available on the team coach. Kick-off is 2.30p.m.

CHICHESTER: Woods, Gingell, Veltom, Blount, Crawford, Goldie, Polhill, Kasujja, Toone, Anscombe, Laflin, Bentall, Cook, Luxton, Jackson, Liddell, Dickin, Golds.

ROGER GOULD