It hurts in Herts for the Blues... but now it’s 90th birthday party time

Chichester, in their red change strip, couldn't stem the Hertford tide / Picture by Alison Tanner
Chichester, in their red change strip, couldn't stem the Hertford tide / Picture by Alison Tanner

After a dreadful journey to Hertford because of traffic hold-ups, Chichester completed a day to forget by losing 49-0 to the National three London south east league leaders.

As a troubled poet would say, a hammering by Hertford Herts - or hurts!

The top team played scintillating rugby and ran in seven tries, with four conversions and two penalties by full-back Taylor.

They showed a professional approach, even taking the penalties when so far ahead and denying Chi the consolation try they would have deserved.

Hertford’s speed, support play and handling skills were from the top drawer. Blues tackled bravely but not well enough to prevent try-winning offloads to the wings.

Centres Don Farmer and Rhys Thompson were faced by a defence line speed which was increased by offside encroachment unseen by the referee. This meant they received man and ball together and there was little chance for wingers Harry Seaman and Ross Miller. But they kept going depite the odds and finished with some pressure on the home try line.

Chichester RFC celebrate their 90th-anniversary season with a day of rugby this Saturday.

Injuries and unavailability meant more changes and kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes as Chi had arrived more than an hour later than planned.

Hertford sprang from the blocks and scored twice in ten minutes from poor Chi kicks which were run straight back with slick hands, the scorers centre Smart and Taylor, who converted his own.

The Chi scrum settled but sensationally scrum half Jak Evans was penalised for a crooked feed. Chi defended again but were unable to stop No8 Belton from diving across from a five-metre scrum. The conversion made it 19-0.

Phil Dickin and Nick Blount caught in the lineout and Taff Davies hit a post from a penalty. A crooked lineout throw gave Hertford their next chance and they shook off three tackles for Belton to offload brilliantly to hooker Jones to stride inside for their bonus-point try and conversion.

Evans and Taff Davies stopped more probes with tackles and interceptions and Chi advanced with Evans and Seaman gaining good ground. Dickin made a half break but Chi were penalised at the breakdown.

Some bright phases meant Taff Davies went near but was hurt by a last tackle.

Aaron Davies departed with a facial injury and was replaced by Taiusi Vadei as the Blues trailed 26-0 at the break.

Two infringements in the tackle area gave Hertford six more points from penalties. At last Chi got a pass out to Miller, who ran hard but was tackled out near the left corner.

Taff Davies suffered a similar fate after a lineout delivery by Dickin. The Chi channelling in the scrum was not giving the back row quick ball while the Hertford pack favoured the wheel to the right which they demonstrated to put Belton on his way to his second try.

Chi attacked but again kicked too long. Hertford whipped the ball from a scrum and tortured Chi with prolonged inter-passing which gave space for scrum-half Sargent to collect a perfect pass and score at the left flag - 42-0.

A long Henry Anscombe penalty to touch and lineout ball palmed back by Blount was promising but ruined by a subsequent knock-on.

Replacements Ed Grinstead and Scott Derrington came on. Hertford were still hungry and excellent handling which finished with a magical back-hand offload allowed Jones to cut inside and dot down for his second. It was 49-0 after a conversion.

Blues showed pride and spirit despite being outplayed and spent the last ten minutes knocking on a door which refused to open. They declined penalties in front of the posts and opted for several drives to the line but were held up and Evans appeared to have touched down but the referee ruled it offside.

A rest from league action comes this week but Chichester play a friendly against Portsmouth as part of their 90th-anniversary club celebration all welcome at Oaklands Park.

Chichester: Deavall, Shepherd, O’Callaghan, Blount, Lindsay, Dickin, A Davies, Evans, Anscombe, Seaman, Farmer, Thompson, Miller, O Davies, Vadei, Grinstead, Derrington.

ROGER GOULD

Chichester RFC celebrate their 90th-anniversary season with a day of rugby this Saturday.

The spectacle at Oaklands Park, with Portsmouth the opposition, begins around 2pm with a number of past and present players taking to the field - club officials say they just hope they make it off again too!

Portsmouth were the first club Chichester played after their formation in 1926.

The Chichester players will be wearing commemorative shirts which will replicate the club’s old blue and blue hoops, with commemorative wording.

Rolling subs will be allowed to enable older players to see some action but not be over-worked.

It is hoped there will be three short games consecutively. Portsmouth are sending their second team and vets, while Chichester’s first, second, third and fourth XVs plus some vets will be involved.

The event is being sponsored by George Ide solicitors, who are also celebrating an anniversary - they are 50 this year.

While the game is going on the bar and kitchen will be open, with a hog roast being served to all players and members of CRFC at the end of the game.

All local people are welcome, whether they’ve ever been to a game at Oaklands Park before or not.

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