Blistering start by Blues - but Totts topple them

Sam Renwick with ball and Ben Robson in support in Chi's clash with Tottonians / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Sam Renwick with ball and Ben Robson in support in Chi's clash with Tottonians / Picture by Kate Shemilt

It’s two defeats from two for the Blues after Tottonians won 30-22 in Oaklands Park’s first league match of the new season – despite the hosts’ electric start.

Chichester made six changes to the team that lost narrowly at Westcombe Park. Tom Belcher, Phil Veltom and Ed Bowden came into the pack, Sam Renwick and Toby Golds joined the backs and Luke Kemish was on the bench.

Twelve members of Chichester’s squad had come through the mini and junior ranks.

Chichester came out of the traps at pace and put Tottonians under pressure. The visitors conceded a penalty which Blues kicked for position. From the subsequent lineout the ball was spun out wide to outflank the Tottonians defence, with Charlie Wallace touching down in the corner. Conversion missed, 5-0.

From the restart Chichester won the ball and headed down the slope towards the try line. An inside pass from Renwick wrongfooted the defence and Ben Polhill was on hand to dot down next to the posts. Converted, 12-0 with 15 minutes gone.

The Chichester faithful were expectant and Chi continued to apply pressure without reward, and finally Tottonians drove the Blues back to their try line.

Resolute defending and handling errors prevented the opposition scoring.

Chichester infringed in their 22 and Tottonians opted for the scrum, pushing the Blues across the try line to score. A conversion made it 12-7 at the break.

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Tottonians started the second half as Chichester had started the first. After three minutes Blues infringed and Searle, Tottonians impressive kicker, stroked the ball between the uprights – 12-10.

Straight from kick-off Chichester knocked on and Tottonians advanced, gaining 40m. The defence seemed to halt the attack but the ball was offloaded for a Tottonians try next to the posts, converted for a 17-12 lead.

Chichester won a lineout and again the ball was spun out wide to outflank the Tottonians defence. Ben Robson cut inside to outpace the defenders and touch down with a twisting lunge across the line and the conversion made it 19-17.

Both teams were down to 14 men after some handbags. With Chichester looking for a bonus-point try a long clearance kick deep into Tottonians territory was returned by the fast running full-back for a simple pass and easy score under the posts, converted – 24-19.

Tottonians infringed in front of the posts for Tom Hutchin to slot a penalty to reduce the deficit to 24-22.

Chichester made a promising break towards Vultures’ Corner with the final pass judged forward. From the resultant scrum Tottonians headed back into the Blues’ half. An infringement provided Tottonians with an opportunity to kick for touch and set up a driving maul from the lineout.

Chichester struggled to halt the juggernaut and a penalty made it 27-22. With time running out Chichester overthrew a lineout and Tottonians went through the phases to run down the clock. An infringement 35 yards out gave Tottonians another penalty which they put away to lead 30-22.

In the dying moments, with two points at stake, Chichester upped the tempo and advanced close to the opposition try line but Tottonians dug in and held on.

Chichester: Prior, Belcher, Prior, Bowden, Taylor, Polhill, Wallace (Captain), Johnson, Goodwin, McLagan, Hutchin, Seaman, Renwick, Robson, Golds, Maxfield, Kemish and Martin.

* Saturday sees Chichester make their second trip of the month to Kent to play Medway at Priestfields (3pm).