Chichester find little to grin about at East Grinstead

Chichester - pictured facing Westcombe Park - couldn't keep East Grinstead at bay   Picture by Kate Shemilt C140932-13
Chichester - pictured facing Westcombe Park - couldn't keep East Grinstead at bay Picture by Kate Shemilt C140932-13

A 27-5 defeat at East Grinstead in National three London and south east was a disappointing result for Chichester, who were beaten by a powerful team including several players recruited from higher-level rugby.

The Blues had one of those days when little went right for them but they did score the best try of the afternoon.

The match was limited as a spectacle by a perfectionist referee and the constant resetting of the scrums was like watching paint dry. This was a pity as both sides showed at times they were capable of an open and flowing contest.

EGs finally won convincingly by two tries, a penalty try, three conversions and two penalties to a single try. Their fly-half Meakin kicked impeccably and collected 12 points.

Chi were missing Aaron Davies and Danny Gray. Richard Adams moved to fly-half and Henry Anscombe to full-back. John Lindsay came in at lock and and Will Turner to loose-head. Billy Toone was welcomed back to scrum-half for his first game of the season.

After early exchanges they had the first of two gilt-edged chances in the half. An attack opened up the home defence with Anscombe up in the line but the ball was knocked on when it was easier to score.

Gs were soon winning scrums and Meakin made a sharp break before they were forced out. They pressed again with corner kicks and lineouts but were held up near the try line. No8 Chris Johnson rescued and drove them back 20m.

A poor touch kick gave EGs possession and despite strong tackles, Chi were penalised in front of the posts and the hard-working Jack Bentall given a harsh yellow card. Penalty slotted.

Chi went forward and their driving maul set up the second clear chance when Phil Dickin cut through and was tackled just short. His offload was neatly taken by Joe Shopland but his pass out for the touchdown was knocked on.

EGs replied by winning two turnovers and penalties at the scrum and for offside. This cost Chi the first try after 35 minutes as EGs drove over at the left corner through hooker Townsend – although there was suspicion of a prior knock on before grounding. It was converted from wide out.

Shopland made a cracking tackle as the tempo increased but Turner was then sinbinned for an offence. Tom Belcher replaced him at prop and Chi attacked with good hands until Rory Tanner was forced into touch.

They were now competing better at the breakdowns with Johnson outstanding. It was 10-0 at the break.

Chi had been on the back foot but there was still hope when back to 15 men. They tried to raise their game but wayward passes meant Tanner was caught and Meakin kicked again to the left corner. Five scrum resets and two penalties later, a penalty try was awarded and converted.

Chi went again with Johnson’s power and Bentall’s determination the highlights.

Bentall made a crunching tackle to stop their full-back escaping down the touchline but when the ball was spun across, Chi tackled well but the writing was on the wall.

The EG No8 Clayton was sinbinned for a deliberate knock-on to stem a Chi thrust. The Blues clicked and following an excellent long kick by Anscombe to the corner and a drive from the lineout, the ball went across the backs for Adams and Anscombe to draw the defence and give space to Tanner to twist out of a last ditch tackle and dive over. Anscombe’s conversion attempt shaved the upright.

Meakin kicked another penalty to make it 20-5.

Dickin tackled superbly to save a certain try by EGs lock Lyons but they could not be denied and with yet another penalty to the corner their driving maul was finished off by their captain Denbee and converted.

Chi have now lost to two teams who will be promotion contenders. The know what is needed to beat the best in this tough league.

This Saturday they meet Tring for the first time (3pm) at Oaklands Park. All support very welcome.

CHICHESTER: Turner, Shopland, Woods, Blount, Lindsay, Polhill, Dickin, Johnson, Toone, Adams, Driscoll, Bentall, Lowe, Tanner, Anscombe, Belcher, Gillings, Renwick.

ROGER GOULD