Chichester RFC’s colts put up a brave fight but narrowly missed out in the final of the Sussex Trophy, losing 20-17 against last year’s national under-17 champions Worthing.
The coaching staff had a very difficult time selecting the side and once the squad of 22 was announced, a further eight players travelled to Crowborough to cheer on their team-mates. Chichester took a large number of supporters.
The Blues started well, but every good phase of play ended up with a mistake and turning over the ball to the yellows of Worthing.
Tyrese Makasi was to the fore, chasing down the ball, winning oppositon lineouts and going on lightning breaks. But the rest of the team were just forcing the ball a little and mistakes were being made.
Worthing were physical in defence with their pack counter-rucking and disupting blue ball. After ten minutes with another counter ruck, the yellows launched a raid down the right and after one missed tackle, the overlap was on with Worthing scoring out wide. The conversion was missed. A penalty stretched their lead to eight points.
The Blues responded with a well-struck penalty from Jack Martin to trail 8-3.
The young Blues upped the tempo with Alex Margarson breaking hard backed up by Elliot Quinten. The lineout worked well with Sam Henshall edging thre battle in the air.
A blue attack came to an abrupt halt and a Worthing player hared away – they went over for the second try. Chi fought back and won a kickable penalty but it just slipped wide.
Once again the Blues launched an attack but a poor offload went straight into the hands of the gleeful Worthing No10 with almost the whole length of the field to run – he showed excellent pace to sprint all the way in. Chichester were trailing 20-3 at the break.
Many teams would have buckled but not this team. Against the slope and the wind the Blues refused to give in. A couple of changes made a real difference withSam Drayson proving a real handful at the scrum and with some huge surges in the loose, and Elliot Haydon playing an assured game at full-back.
MoM Makasi was having an amzing game followed very closely by skipper Will Prior and Elliot Quniten. The Blues were putting huge pressure on and Alex Baxter went on a trademark run bouncing defenders aside. Eventually the yellows lost their big second row to the bin.
Chi opted for the scrum and after a surge down the blindside, Josh Goodwin sniped back open to score by the posts. The simple conversion made it 20-10.
A fantastic lineout take led to the Blues grinding forward. Makasi exploded through, evading two despairing tackles to score. A conversion made it 20-17.
With five minutes left the Blues threw everything at Worthing – but it just wasn’t to be.
Chi coach Pony Moore said: “We had enough ball but in the first half we just forced the pass too much, but our second half performance was filled with character.”
Chi director of rugby Paul Colley said: “With a probable change in coaching structure next year I would like to say thank-you to all the players. The past two years have seen Chichester Colts become a real force in Sussex rugby – this is down to players never giving up and commitment and the support of some outstanding coaches – Pony Moore, Michael Margarson, Keith Martin and Mark Bonar.
“I thank them and particuarly Colts manager Iain Collyer – its been a long hard and sometimes challenging but ultimately very rewarding season.”
Chi colts award winners : Most Improved Harry Blatch; Forward of the Year Tyrese Makasi; Back of the Year Tom Ellis; Players’ Player Tyrese Makasi; Player of the Season Will Prior.
Cup Final Team
Chi: Prior, Watts, Delaisse, Blatch, Henshall, Mahony, Makasi, Quinten, Goodwin, Martin, Russell, Ellis, Margarson, Baxter, Renwick, Montaque, Dryson, Moore, Minton, Lawrence, Bonar, Haydon, Scott, Paige.
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