Chichester rugby stars aim to hit the ground running

Action from Chichester's final home game of last season, versus Westcombe Park / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Action from Chichester's final home game of last season, versus Westcombe Park / Picture by Kate Shemilt

The new rugby season for Chichester RFC kicks off on September 2 at Oaklands Park.

The visitors for a 3pm start will be Sevenoaks and it will be Chi’s first match on their return to London and south-east division one after three seasons in National three London south east.

In a league of 14 teams, their opponents will be Brighton, CS Rugby, Chobham, Cobham, Gravesend, Havant, London Cornish, Maidstone, Medway, Old Colfeians, Sevenoaks, Thurrock and Tottonians.

This is a strong league and Chi will need to compete very hard to challenge for repromotion. The Blues ahave reorganised and have a new head coach from the Royal Navy, Scott Ashley, who replaces Rob Lawrence.

Ashley and director of rugby Paul Colley are determined to strengthen the squad despite the loss of three players returning to their home clubs. There will be chances for 2nd XV and Colts players to make their mark and fill any gaps.

Chi have played all their opponents in the past except Medway (Rochester) and Thurrock, the latter being the only club north of the Thames.

Training has been going well in the past month and two warm-up friendly games have been arranged against Thornbury from Gloucestershire on August 19 (2.30pm) with an evening game on August 24 against Guildford under floodlghts (7.15pm).

Travelling will be less onerous than last season when the Blues had to make half a dozen very long journeys.

They face tough games early on with games against Tottonians, Havant, CSRugby and Cobham, who all finished in the top six and are ambitious for more success. Old friends Havant narrowly missed promotion and Chi meet them at home on September 16.

Training has been going well in the past month and two warm-up friendly games have been arranged against Thornbury from Gloucestershire on August 19 (2.30pm) with an evening game on August 24 against Guildford under floodlghts (7.15pm).

Both will be at Oaklands Park and the Blues will welcome plenty of support from the touchline.

The extended and refurbished clubhouse is now known as the Oaklands Pavilion and offers all that a rugby follower would like before, during and after matches.

The club hope to see many of you there regularly.

ROGER GOULD

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