Rugby: Sun continues to shine on brilliant Blues

Chichester hooker Andy Gray grapples with the Cobham defenders  Picture by Louise Adams
Chichester hooker Andy Gray grapples with the Cobham defenders Picture by Louise Adams

The sun shone on a sixth consecutive Saturday - and on another convincing performance by Chichester, the 55-12 success over Cobham being their sixth on the trot in London one south.

They gained the bonus point in the first half and ran in nine tries, including three by inside centre Jack Bentall and two by Andy Gray. Richard Adams added five conversions while Cobham replied with two tries and a conversion.

The Surrey men had a poor 40 minutes, improved in the second period but still left holes in their defence.

Chi are equal top with East Grinstead, both with maximum points and six points ahead of Wimbledon.

The hosts had Luke Davis at prop, Reece Cavossi at lock, Warren Wright as flanker and Moses Kasujja was welcomed back at No8 after a lengthy injury.

Head coach Rob Lawrence had to be front row replacement on the bench and Gareth Nichols was to make his debut.

Cobham won the ball from their kick-off but probing was stopped and Chi drove forward. The photogenic Ross Fairbairn had a first good run and on eight minutes the Blues put points on the board.

A penalty towards the corner and lineout won, the ball was spun to the backs, who kept it alive for Bentall to offload to Adams. The fly-half scythed through and touched down at the posts. The conversion was added.

A fine bout of passing between Adams, Kasujja, Ben Polhill and Sevi Seviua led to the left winger hurtling to the corner. He was well-tackled a foot short of the line but prop Joe Woods picked up and scored.

Seviua had fallen awkwardly and after treatment was carried off with a serious leg injury.

Dashing scrum-half Billy Toone was making ground and delivering quick ball. Out it went to hard-running centres Bentall and Sam Renwick, Bentall diving over.

Cobham raided briefly but full-back Golds caught well and launched the first of his high kicks back into enemy territory. Fairbairn linked with Woods supporting on his shoulder. He handed on to Bentall who beat two attempted tackles and scored. The conversion made it 24-0 on the half-hour.

Lineouts were even and scrums were competitive. It was in open play that the home side dominated and they were much faster in possession.

However, a chip by Bentall bounced into the hands of Cobham winger Bates. With Chi’s defence drawn across, he ran 75m along the touchline and rounded behind the posts for a good try, with the conversion by Flower.

Polhill grabbed a loose ball and shipped it to hooker Gray to carve through and score in the corner.

Just on half-time Adams beat a defender and his pass rebounded off a Cobham player into Robson’s hands. The right winger gave Polhill a pass and his experienced captain raced past a last tackler for the sixth try, making it 34-7 at the break.

Kasujja had to stop a dangerous move from the back of the scrum with a big tackle. The visitors tried to break across midfield but were frustrated by Chi’s firm tackles and their own knock-ons.

Toone pounced on a loose ball and booted it on. The full-back was unable to control the ball and Bentall followed up for his third try and another conversion.

The Chi backs were caught offside as Cobham pressed. They had some decent phases but were repelled.

Toone and Adams sent Renwick on a blistering run through the middle and the ball went to Gray on the right. With confidence he sold a dummy and crashed across. The conversion was good from wide out.

Cobham’s hard-working No8 Van Niekerk slipped an inside pass to flanker Brown to go over and Cowell converted. They nearly scored again but Van Niekerk’s offload near the try line was intercepted by an alert Golds.

He went like an express train the full length of the pitch. With defenders trailing,he rounded the posts to touchdown and celebrate modestly.

Chi’s supporters were highly satisfied at the final whistle. This week they travel to Beckenham knowing they can’t afford any slip-ups.

CHICHESTER: Woods, Gray, Davis, Davies, Cavossi, Wright, Polhill, Kasujja, Toone, Adams, Fairbairn, Bentall, Renwick, Sevi, Golds. Reps: Lawrence, Nicholls, Robson.

ROGER GOULD