Rugby: Chichester can take pride in their double near-miss

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CHICHESTER rugby boss Paul Colley says the club can look back with pride on their season despite just missing promotion and the Sussex Trophy.

The Blues lost 31-19 to East Grinstead in the trophy final but Colley said his team battled superbly – as they had done in a long, hard London one south promotion campaign.

Now they can take a breather and plot another season of success next time.

Director of rugby Colley was philosophical about the final loss and said: “We had to dig deep with three or four regular players missing against a side who have recruited heavily since last year with acquisition of professional players.

“We weathered the storm and had plenty of possession but Rick McKenna was always dangerous.

“At 18-0 down with only minutes left in the first half it was a tough ask. To get back to 21-19 with only ten minutes remaining was unbelievable, but a couple of unforced errors were to cost us dear.

“The front five were awesome, particularly Nick Blount and Matt Corrigan, with Matt Corrigan stepping up from the twos with a man-of-the-match performance.

“Grinstead were strong and are going to be the favourites for London one south next season.

“We’ve played fantastic stuff this term; the team played with real passion. Although we just lost out on promotion and the cup we should be proud to have led a good league for most of the season and make the cup final.

“The twos and fives won cups, the twos the league play-offs and the colts pushed talented players through to senior rugby and reached their cup final.

“So we re-group and build on strengths.

“After a short break the hard work starts to come back refreshed and ready to do battle in the highly-competitive London one in September.”