Chichester’s rugby season hinges on Guernsey clash

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CHICHESTER face a season-defining clash at home to promotion rivals Guernsey on Saturday.

The Blues have had a fantastic season – particularly at home – and have led London one south for much of the time.

But as the campaign draws to a close, they have slipped to third place in the highly-competitive league.

With Old Elthamians, Chichester’s last opponents, putting a very strong challenge the Blues were unable to keep the destiny of the title in their own hands with their recent loss on their patch in a very tough and bruising encounter.

Chichester director of rugby Paul Colley said: “We’ve had a brilliant season and obviously we’d like to have won against Old Es but I was pleased with our determination and pride to play to the very end.

“Ultimately our promotion ambitions were always going to hinge on the home game versus Guernsey. In terms of Chichester rugby history it doesn’t get any bigger than this – if we can turn them over at home the dream of national league rugby is still alive.

“The challenge will be huge – the islanders have invested heavily in their squad both pre-season and during the season.

“I think watching their close neighbours Jersey become fully professional has forced their hand and they have had a number of high-level overseas players joining them this season.

“In many ways it’s not a level playing field but I believe we have the talent and squad strength to cause a shock. I have long felt the league title could go to the wire but in order for us to be in the hunt Saturday’s game is do or die.”

Chichester want fans to flock to Oaklands Park for a 2.30pm start – your support could be vital to roar skipper Scott Barlow (above) and his men on to a momentous victory.

Colley added: “Guernsey have a big advantage at home with the travelling and a very partisan crowd we want to turn that advantage in our favour. Come on the Blues!”