Rugby: Chichester hammer Heath again

Photo by Louise Adams C130156-2 Spt Rugby ChiLing
Photo by Louise Adams C130156-2 Spt Rugby ChiLing

Chichester were always in control of their all-Sussex encounter at home to Hayweards Heath in London one south and completed their third double of the season, scoring five tries and three conversions to an unconverted try.

Once the Blues had scored their third try just after the break, the game was sewn up and a bonus point arrived a little later – although there was no change to the Blues’ league position.

They stay second with Basingstoke, who crushed Hove 52-3, in third.

Heath had brief periods of pressure in both halves and had parity in the tight but unlike Chichester, they lacked firepower in their back line.

There were some niggly incidents and the referee dished out three yellow cards to Heath and five to Chichester.

Changes to the Blues squad were necessary. Dane Gingell was at hooker, Gareth Nicholls at flanker, Jack Bentall returned to the centre and Tim Cook at full-back.

Phil Dickin was back on the bench after his serious injury and Duncan Liddell made his debut as prop replacement.

The pitch was in surprisingly good condition and Chichester adopted running tactics, releasing their speedy backs with right winger Tom Jackson as the cutting edge.

The ball was sent straight out by scrum half Billy Toone and the centres Bentall and Sam Renwick warmed up. Back came the blue wave, the ball whipped across to Jackson and an inside pass to Renwick to race across for the first try.

After just nine minutes, Jackson intercepted a Heath passing move and sprinted 70 metres to the other end with Heath players trailing in his wake. Richard Adams converted, passing his 200 points for the season.

Heath woke up and fly-half Jenkins made a break towards the right wing and his pass to the winger was well-timed, but Chi’s Alex Grace tackled to save a certain try.

Chi gained a turnover and flowed again with Cook joining in from deep. Adams kicked over the top but they conceded a penalty due to a late tackle.

Jenkins missed a penalty for the visitors after Chi infringed on the ground. Adams broke through and went 40 metres, but a kick ahead was foiled and at half-time it was 12-0.

The Blues went for an immediate score and succeeded after the break. A quick ball went out to Bentall and Adams looped around to take his flicked offload pass and the fly-half galloped 45 metres to touch down, which he converted.

Gingell went blind side from catch and drive and was forced out with a metre to go. At the next drive, Heath’s strong defence cracked and big Nick Blount dived over for the bonus point try, converted by Adams.

Heath broke out and outside centre Cashman threatened but he was grounded by a hard tackle from Niall Goldie. However, the Chi defence was stretched for the first time and Heath found an overlap on the left, full-back Fotheringham touching down, although the conversion missed.

Chi were keen to score one more try, but Heath’s defensive tactics caused frustration and four players were sent to cool off, two at a time, in the space of ten minutes.

Heath tackled well but a penalty was sent into the corner by Anscombe, Dickin caught the throw near the front, Moses Kasujja passed to Gingell and the hooker crowned his good performance by crashing over.

Blues director of rugby Paul Colley said: “It was an emphatic win and we scored very good tries.

“Heath’s spoiling tactics were effective at times and made it difficult but we overcame them.”

This week Chichester are home again to Beckenham (2.30pm). All support welcome.

CHICHESTER: Corrigan, Gingell, Woods, Grace, Blount, Goldie, Nicholls, Kasujja, Toone, Adams, Jackson, Bentall, Renwick, Luxton, Cook, Liddell, Dickin, Anscombe.