Chichester suffered another tough defeat – 39-15 – at Hertford in National three London south east.
They had a much-altered team with three late changes through illness seriously drawing on their reserves.
Five players came up from the twos including stalwart club captain Liam O`Hagan, who also stepped in to skipper the side in the absence of inspirational captain Chris Johnson, one of those struck by illnesss.
The Blues started remarkably well and although playing into a gale-force wind they fought tooth and nail in every department apart. From the set-piece they matched the home side and in open play gave Hertford some serious problems.
From an early good field position O’Hagan released scrum-half Seaman, who used his power and pace to break 30 metres – but for a blocked support line, Chi would have undoubtedly scored. After a fairly even first 20 it was 3-3 all.
The home side did score a well-worked try with 15 minutes of the half to go.
Nick Shopland, another Chi stalwart who had answered the emergency call, came on to give some much-needed power to Chi’s creaking scrum.
The Blues got the first of a series of tough call against them. With ten minutes of the half left Dean Bonds was carded for what looked a marginal high tackle, certainly not one warranting a yellow card. They scrambled in defence to hold out at 10-3 down at the break.
The second half started badly as another card against the blue backs for a dubious dangerous tackle saw them back down to 14. This proved pivotal with the home side scoring three quick tries through their dangerous backs.
Chi needed to tighten up out wide, or be on the wrong end of a big score.
The Blues rallied strongly when back to 15 but the buffer was too big and they had to rely on one or two outstanding performances to stay in touch. Alex Marsh, who had a decent game at No10, showed he was getting back to form with an unbelievable cross-field kick of 40m straight into the hands of Bonds, who dived over to score and reduce the deficit to 31-10. Hertford hit back with a well-worked try against a tiring Blues defence. But the never-say-die attitude showed until the end with O’Hagan and Ellaboudy hunting everything down.
They created a good turnover, Marsh moved it wide and Jackson, who had a very strong game on the left wing, beat two players and had the strength to break the third tackle and offload to Maslen in support – he darted over the last ten to score an excellent try.
Chichester are having a tough time with injuries and changes in personnel but there was no lack of heart and every player that wore the blue and blue gave everything.
This week they entertain the always-strong Guernsey and the lads will need every one of their supporters to get up to Oaklands and create a cracking atmosphere for the last game of 2015. Kick-off is at 2pm.
CHICHESTER: Richter, Shepherd, Belcher, Davies, Derrington, Ellaboudy, Knight, O’Hagan, Seaman, Marsh, Jackson, Thompson, Maslen, Bonds, Golds. Reps: Shopland, Arden-Brown, Pollard.
Chichester have now completed the first half of their season and are in 12th place out of 14. They need as much support as possible, starting this Saturday with a big game against Guernsey.
The Chi squad would be greatly encouraged to see and hear a large crowd of their supporters on the touchline as they strive to get back on a winning track.
It’s your last chance to see them in action before the Christmas break and it’s better than shopping.
Then in January there are crucial away games at Colchester (Sat Jan 9),Gravesend (23) and Eton Manor (30). If you would like a trip to Essex or Kent, there is usually room on the team coach and you would enjoy comfort and rugby banter before watching action on the pitch.
Hope to see as many Chi fans as possible.
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