Havant hit Chichester hard to inflict Blues' first defeat of rugby season

Chichester get to grips with Havant / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk
Chichester get to grips with Havant / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

Chichester were unable to cope with Havant’s impressive strength and speed in the first half and their London one south game at Hooks Lane was virtually over by half-time - and ended 41-19 to the hosts.

The Blues hit back after the interval and exerted a lot of pressure. They deserved to score a fourth try to gain a losing bonus but were denied by Havant infringements on several occasions.

Sam Renwick challenges / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

Sam Renwick challenges / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

Chichester made six changes to the side that beat Horsham in the first match. Nick Blount and Jon Lindsay came into the pack, with Harry Seaman in the backs and Richard Ives, Josh Cameron and Tom Blewitt on the bench.

A large, vocal crowd filled the stand and spilled round both sides of the pitch in sunny conditions.

Havant kicked off and immediately had Blues under pressure. A penalty was conceded for holding on just inside the 22m line. A simple kick made it 3-0.

The home team were penalised providing Blues the chance to respond immediately. The kick had the length but the deceptive wind pulled the ball wide. From the dropout Havant advanced into the Chichester half and laid siege for ten minutes before penetrating the Blues defence in the corner. An excellent conversion from the touchline made it 10-0.

It's two v one in Chi's favour / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

It's two v one in Chi's favour / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

At the end of a period of sloppy play, where both teams were struggling to pass the ball to hands, Blues had a scrum on their 10m line. Josh Goodwin span the ball to Shaun Baker and it passed through the hands of Rhys Thompson, Charlie Norton, Matt McLagan, Harry Seaman and finally to Charlie Wallace for a try under the posts. Converted, 10-7.

The Havant response was instant and in the next nine minutes they scored three tries, two of which were converted to lead 29-7 with 11 minutes until half-time.

The half was rounded off by a 50m solo run from the Havant centre who outflanked the Blues defence to score their fifth try. At half-time it was 34-7 and the Chichester faithful were concerned about shipping 80 points.

Havant came back out and immediately had Blues under the cosh with a converted try, making it 41-7. But Chichester stepped up several gears, making tackles and pressuring the home side into mistakes.

Havant were pinned in their red zone and managed to hold the ball up as the Blues’ pack drove over the line. From the subsequent scrum Seaman fed Thompson, who wrongfooted the defence to dot down - 41-12.

Chichester’s confidence grew and the Havant running game, so effective in the first half, was thwarted. At one point Tom Blewitt recovered a loose ball on the Blues try line and ran it out of defence.

Under constant pressure the Havant penalty count was rising and finally the referee produced a yellow card. Blues used the man advantage to pin Havant back in their red zone for nearly ten minutes.

The Chichester lineout was functioning well but the Havant defence was stifling the Blues’ driving maul. Finally, the pack crossed the line and Richard Ives touched down for the third try. Converted from out wide by Charlie Norton it made the score 41-19.

Chichester wanted a fourth try to salvage a bonus point. They were nearly rewarded when a ball out wide found Dane Gingell in space ten metres from the line. But the pass was deemed forward and play was called back.

As the clock ran down Blues were back defending inside their 22m line as Havant looked to increase the score. Four minutes from time Chichester were reduced to 14 when the referee produced a yellow card.

On Saturday Chichester entertain newly promoted KCS Old Boys at Oaklands Park (3pm).

Chichester: Drayson, Gingell, Woods, Blount, Lindsay, Spriggs, Wallace, O’Callaghan, Goodwin, Baker, Seaman, Thompson, Renwick, McLagan, Norton, Ives, Cameron, Blewitt.