The University of Chichester women’s rugby team set down a marker in their opening game with an emphatic 40-5 win at home to London School of Economics.
The team had an outstanding season last year, making the Premier South play-offs after winning south eastern 1A in fine fashion.
They picked up the Club of the Year accolade at the UCSU sports awards.
Chichester scored four tries either side of half-time.
Maddy Buckland put her team ahead after a quick tap penalty from five metres out in the third minute. The home side’s forwards made the next try from a line-out they mauled over, then Sam Eley scored in the corner on 21 minutes after a turnover in open play left her free on the wing.
Buckland got a second try following another tap penalty after multiple phases in the LSE 22m line. Safara Yates ran one in for the visitors in the 33rd minute to peg it back to 20-5.
Shortly after the restart an injection of pace from Jade McClune allowed her to break through and score. Jasmine Ball added another 12 minutes later from 40 yards, fighting off two would-be tacklers on the way.
Jade Bennett broke out from the maul to crash over with 15 to go before Ball wrapped things up after Chichester went out wide quickly from a line-out just inside the LSE 22 for the winger to score on the outside.
Coach Simon Carter said: “It was a good start. We’ve got quite a few new players this year so we’re trying to bed them in.
“It’s the first time, I think, we’ve faced LSE in a few years. They were newly-promoted this season. I think the scoreline probably reflects the game fairly. I think in attack we posed them real problems.
“And we’ve left a few in the locker, unfortunately. But for some basic handling errors we could have got a few more. I think it would have been nicer to get 50 points, but I’ll take 40 to start off.
“I was lucky I inherited a really good solid squad when I took over last year so I was able to build on the good work they had done previously. That’s all been put to bed and it’s all about this year and trying to do a double.
“We want to be the sort of team that can do two tier-one titles back to back. So that’s what we’re setting out to do. The players are happy with that and we’ll go from there.”
UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER TEAMS: ROUND-UP
The University of Chichester’s men’s and women’s football teams both had Premier South results affected by red cards.
Danny Potter’s men’s firsts had to play with ten men for more than an hour and lost 3-2 following a last-minute own goal.
In a feisty match, Tafadzwa Kanjanda had the first clear-cut chance but couldn’t convert from six yards.
University of South Wales broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Louis Gerrard got on to the end of a cross and headed past keeper Luke Hutchings.
Lloyd Rowlatt’s wicked low delivery was touched in by Jamie Chand for his second goal in as many games.
USW went back ahead after the break through Gerrard with an almost-identical headed goal from a free-kick. But the visitors’ elation was short lived when Iffy Onwuachu finished.
Hutchings denied the visitors, saving a powerful shot which flew through bodies, and then USW defenders somehow blocked an almost certain goal with a fantastic goal-line clearance.
The final blow in the 90th minute came when a low cross from the right was inadvertently turned in past a helpless Hutchings to bring an end to the unbeaten start to the season.
The women’s football first team were 2-0 up against Cardiff but had a player sent off and let their opponents back into the game and had to settle for a draw.
Disappointed coach Perry Northeast said: “It was a tricky game. Cardiff have just come into the BUCS premiership from the division below so they’ve set themselves up as very difficult to beat.
“It took us to the second half to break them down with really good goals from Hannah Humphreys, a first-year student, and the second from Ellie Bloomfield. And then the game turned on its head when we received a red card and had a player sent off. It was the right decision from the referee. Cardiff got some enthusiasm to come back into the game and they got two goals in the latter stages.
“Had the red card not happened in the game we potentially wouldn’t have given them the enthusiasm to come back into things.
“We’ve had mixed fortunes in our first three games. In the game we lost to Hertfordshire, the scoreline didn’t reflect how much we should have lost by but then our 4-1 win over St Mary’s was quite flattering to us.
“We’ve got a fairly new bunch of players. The level is new to some of them so it’s a different objective from last year. It’s a bit more about trying to get the girls to find the consistency to perform at this level week in week out.”
The men’s football seconds and thirds were involved in 3-3 draws. An equaliser from twos player Dave Borges with a couple of minutes to go grabbed a point at home to Brunel firsts. Jack Greenwood scored the other two goals from the penalty spot.
All three Chi racquets teams celebrated big wins.
The men’s badminton team picked up their first victory in a while with a 5-3 win over Sussex firsts. Jack Bird and fresher James Lovell won all their singles, while Ben Skinner and Lewis Sandy came through in doubles.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams both made it two wins in two. The men’s team, consisting of Tom Pullen, Harry Vaughan, Charlie Fennel and Joe Graham in singles and doubles pairings Harry Vaughan and Braxton Baker-Bates and Callum Forseth and Tom Pullen, beat Royal Holloway 10-2.
Rebecca Farrow, Maddie Payne, Leonie Stiefermann and Ellen Unitt in the women’s team won by the same margin.
Chi’s men’s table tennis team continued their unbeaten streak with a 13-3 away scalp of Surrey firsts that sees them top the league. Oli Hicks was the stand-out player in a team that featured Richard Pelc, Dan Pound and Nathan Hack.
Other Chi results - Basketball Men’s Firsts 57-62 Reading University Firsts; Basketball Men’s Seconds 40-49 Universities of Medway Seconds; Hockey Men’s Firsts 0-1 Reading Seconds; Hockey Men’s Seconds 0-11 Imperial College London Thirds; Hockey Women’s Firsts 11-0 LSE Firsts; Hockey Women’s Seconds 0-7 Portsmouth Seconds; Netball Firsts 54-26 Brunel Seconds; Netball Seconds 35-32 Brighton; Netball Thirds 48-38 Portsmouth Thirds; Netball Fourths 16-67 Surrey Thirds; Netball Fifths 30-16 University College London Eighth (RUMS); Rugby Union Men’s Seconds 13-30 Universities of Medway Firsts; Volleyball Men’s Firsts 3-0 Brighton Firsts; Volleyball Men’s Seconds 1-3 St Mary’s Firsts.