AFTER a scrappy first half with just a four-point lead thanks to penalties, Chichester Rugby Club got their act together and scored two good tries to their London one south clash against Haywards Heath 21-5.
AFTER a scrappy first half with just a four-point lead thanks to penalties, Chichester got their act together and scored two good tries to win the game.
It was their eighth double which equalled their total last season, and they went back above Basingstoke into third place in the league as they regained their organisation and team spirit after their promotion disappointment.
Heath had the better of the first half and had several chances, but only took one. The Blues had the Sussex Trophy in mind and rested Scott Barlow, Stuart Pearham and Rob Lawrence.
They brought young players Tom Pellett, Reece Cavozzi, Rhys Gillings and Joe Woods into the squad and they each showed their potential at this level. Tom Polhill had broken a wrist against Guernsey and Sam Renwick replaced him at inside centre.Jamie Knowles was at fly-half.
Knowles kicked an early penalty, but Heath threatend with scrum half Walsh darting around but becoming isolated due to his speed. Knowles pegged them back with touch kicks.
The swashbuckling Richard Adams beat two men and gave supporters a heart attack by trying a third in front of his posts, where he was nailed, but Ben Polhill rescued him.
Chi had their first driving maul turned over and a Niall Goldie steal at the lineout was frustrated by a fumble at the breakdown.
Heath missed a penalty but made a great attack out of defence with four quick passes taking them close to the try line and a penalty was won but reversed due to back chat.
Knowles sold a nice dummy, but Heath countered and Walsh took them to the right corner. A tap penalty gave full-back Thortensen room to dive over and put Heath 5-3 ahead.
Both sides made far too many mistakes and it was stalemate for some time. Knowles kicked his second penalty with his cultured left foot and Chi drove from the lineout with Cavozzi,Goldie and Nick Shopland leading.
Heath held on the ground and Knowles mde them pay from 35 metres. At the break it was 9-5 to Chi, but Heath must have fancied their chance with the slope and breeze in their favour.
Heath missed another penalty and Chi upped their tempo with some combined moves between forwards and backs. Adams made ground and Ben Robson took it on strongly but was forced out.
Firm tackles were needed to stop Phil Veltom and Moses Kasujja on the charge. Knowles was making silky runs and keeping his back line honest with flicked or long passes at different heights.
A penalty went into the left corner for lineout and drive, finished off by Cavozzi to take the score to 14-5.
Kasujja broke through for 25 metres but was penalised for holding on after tackle, as was Veltom after the outstanding Goldie had again robbed the ball at the rear of the lineout.
Toby Golds followed up his own high kick and the backs launched a determined attack. Chris Wagstaff sent it out and Renwick made a half break and on to Adams joining the line. He passed inside to Richard Deed who ran a great line to score near the posts and Knowles added the extras for 21-5.
Heath came back after Blues had controlled affairs, but were unable to penetrate due to their own errors or wrong options. Chi’s hooker Pellett and prop Veltom left the field with injuries and the scrums went uncontested.
A Golds kick was charged down and Heath booted to the line but somehow they failed to finish and the Chi defence rushed to save. They also had an easy penalty awarded, but more lip to the referee caused a second reversal.
Chi move forward and a Heath flanker was given a yellow card for holding on, followed by Polhill for the same offence. Wagstaff, Golds, Nick Blount and Shopland linked impressively as Chi kept the ball until the final whistle.
Paul Colley said: “A Sussex derby game is never easy and we had to work hard.I thought we played some good rugby and deserved the win.We had made several changes which was unsettling at first but the new lads did very well.”
CHICHESTER: Shopland, Pellett, Veltom, Cavozzi, Blount, Goldie, Polhill [c], Kasujja, Wagstaff, Knowles, Golds, Renwick, Deed, Robson, Adams, Toone, Gillings, Woods.