Rugby: Blistering Blues keep their perfect start going

Action from Chichester's home victory over Hove
Action from Chichester's home victory over Hove

A 34-21 triumph at home to Hove in London one south was a very important game to win - and Chichester achieved it with sensible variation of attacks by forwards and backs.

Four tries and a bonus point were in the bag before half-time and when Hove hit back in the last 20 minutes, it was much too late.

The final margin was five tries and three conversions to three tries and two penalties. The Blues’ scrum was on top throughout and the lineout had the better of things. With their dominant possession they prevented the fast Hove backs gaining quick ball.

On another hot Saturday, Chichester had to make changes. Dane Gingell was hooker, Chris Wagstaff scrum-half and young Josh Hutchinson was on the left wing. Ben Polhill was back as open-side flanker.

The home side attacked with Chris Johnson breaking, Polhill moving it right and the back line showing good hands. A penalty was slotted by Richard Adams.

Hove fly-half Whiting replied with three points when a Chichester player slipped off his scrum binding 30 metres out.

Chi advanced and penalties to the corner saw the pack held up on the try line. Adams and centre Jack Bentall combined to release right winger Ross Fairbairn. With a perfect jink and sidestep he beat two men and cut inside to go over for a fine try, converted by Adams.

A galloping Johnson was held as he was about to score. From the lineout, Aaron Davies caught cleanly and a wheel and drive by the pack ended in Gingell touching down. Extras were well added by Adams.

Hove threatened for the first time but Polhill rescued it in front of the posts and sprinted over halfway. Nick Shopland reeled out of a scrum complaining bitterly about serious foul play by his opposite number. However, his misguided attempt at revenge meant he went to the sin bin.

It was Hove’s big chance with Chi down to 14, Corrigan coming on to prop and Johnson retiring to the bench. But they failed to take it. They did cross but play was brought back for a forward pass.

Another penalty and lineout catch by Niall Goldie and drive over by the Chi forwards gave Gingell his second try. The conversion attempt was narrowly missed. Whiting kicked a Hove penalty to make it 22-6.

From the restart, Polhill gathered the kick and quick passes sent the alert Goldie crashing over at the left corner. Adams converted brilliantly from the touchline.

Jon Lindsay was injured and Polhill took over the captaincy. Just on half-time Hove moved the ball across their backs and full-back Bymji joined the line to get over for their first try. It was 29-11 at the break and Chi were in control.

Goldie stole Hove’s lineout ball and Chi resumed their attacks. Toby Golds and Adams placed useful lobs over the top and Sam Renwick was prominent in a thrust which failed because a pass was overrun.

Hove moved into Chi’s 22 with penalties and pressed, but the Blues stole their lineout again.

Chi pushed the visitors back at resulting scrum. Bentall made a half break and it was the Blues’ turn to force penalties and look for another score.

Held up twice, they persisted and slick handling gave Hutchinson a run and he timed his pass well to the onrushing Fairbairn. The experienced flier went over for the fifth try.

Hove got some possession and a rapid touchline move was finished off by LeMehaute. The conversion struck the post and bounced out. Golds twice made good catches from high Hove kicks and Polhill cleared out along the touchline.

In the last play, Hove created an excellent break and Bymji scored.

Head coach Rob Lawrence said: “I was pleased with our performance against a good team who will be in the leading group. We faded in the heat but the game was already won. However, we have lots to work on at training.’

This week Chichester visit Havant, who have also started with two wins. Support welcome.

CHICHESTER: Shopland, Gingell, Woods, Davies, Lindsay, Goldie, B Polhill, Johnson, Wagstaff, Adams, Hutchinson, Bentall, Renwick, Fairbairn, Adams, Corrigan, McCloughlin, T Polhill.

ROGER GOULD