In warm sunshine on a hard pitch at Havant, Chichester completely outplayed their local rivals in the first-ever league game between the sides, winning 46-11 to keep up their perfect London one south start.
They probably set a record by scoring their first try after 20 seconds and by the end they had won by eight tries and three conversions to a try and two penalties.
In the second half the Blues played brilliant attacking rugby and showed their full capabilities. Havant didn’t help themselves when they received two yellow cards and then with eight minutes left had a man dismissed.
Chi have maximum points from three games and are second in the league behind semi-pro East Grinstead.
Unlucky Jon Lindsay had ruptured an Achilles tendon against Hove and Ben Polhill took over captaincy. Andy Gray returned at hooker, Tom Polhill started on the right wing and Warren Wright made his debut in the second row.
Straight from Havant’s kick-off, Chris Johnson powered forward and passed to Richard Adams and on to Gray. He made a lovely break and a perfect pass put lock Aaron Davies through a hole to race over from 30m. Adams added the extras.
An Adams cross-kick to the right wing caused panic but Havant scrambled clear. A poor kick by Chi gave Havant their first chance but full-back Toby Golds rescued with a firm tackle.
The Blues forwards were taking control in lineout and scrum and a driving maul pushed Havant back 20m.
A home prop went to the sin bin for infrigement at a ruck before Adams, Niall Goldie and Gray combined but were stopped just short. At the scrum, Chi pushed their opponents off their ball and swashbuckling Gray took a quick pass and crashed over.
Centre Jack Bentall was tackled as he made good ground and Havant attacked to Chi’s 22 and fly-half Knight kicked a penalty for holding on at the ruck.
A Havant thrust through the middle exposed frail tackles but Golds stood firm again on the 22. From a second penalty, Knight made it 12-6 at the break.
Chi had been well on top and should have had more points on the board, but the fireworks were about to begin.
Prop Nick Shopland ran from the Havant 22 to score what seemed a good try, but the referee decided there had been a marginal forward pass.
From a lineout catch by Goldie, a superb move by the backs finished with Golds crossing at the left corner and touching down around the posts. The conversion was put away by Adams.
A long kick brought a lineout on the right, followed by an accurate throw and a catch by Davies and a short pass to Johnson, unstoppable from 20m.
Harry ‘The Hippo’ Seaman had come off the bench and Chi were using him to cause Havant big problems. A lob by Adams nearly brought another score.
Yellow cards were given to Havant’s Knight and Chi’s Golds after an incident when Havant were trying to get through.
The ball was whipped across the backs and was carried on by Johnson charging in support. A great offload found fleet-footed left winger Ross Fairbairn, who went over at the left corner. Adams converted. Havant burst through at last and with a Chi tackler evaded, flanker Barfoot touched down to make it 31-11.
The Blues forwards were providing guaranteed ball via scrum-half Chris Wagstaff. A pass to the wing was knocked on before the blue tide flowed right and a lovely pass by Sam Renwick saw Seaman go close but held up at the line.
The scrum fed the ball for Goldie to pick up and ground the ball for the sixth try. Havant cleared to midfield and a penalty gave them an excursion to the Chi corner. But Chi defended competently and cleared.
A Havant player was irritated and apparently swore at the referee, resulting in a red card and he left the pitch.
Chi attacked once more with Bentall’s offload setting up Golds for a 30m gas to the corner for another excellent try. Chi spoiled a Havant scrum and although Havant defended and cleared with a penalty, a loose ball was seized by Johnson who ran 50m past despairing defenders and scored the final try.
This display warmed the hearts of the Blues’ coaches and supporters. The Havant players and supporters were very sporting and paid nice compliments.
This week at Oaklands Park there is a huge match against a very strong Basingstoke (3pm). This will be a crunch game and all support will be welcome.
CHICHESTER: Woods, Gray, Veltom, Davies, Wright, Goldie, B Polhill, Johnson, Wagstaff, Adams, Fairbairn, Bentall, Renwick, T Polhill, Golds. Reps: Shopland, Grace, Seaman.