On a wet and miserable afternoon Chichester were beaten for the second time this season by an efficient Cobham team - losing 26-12 in Surrey.
Both London one south defeats have been by a margin of 14 points and the Cobham kicker Tom Farrelly has twice helped himself to 16 points from penalties and conversions.
With all their injuries the Blues were up against it but they competed and a deserved losing bonus was snatched from them in the last minute.
Chi have now lost three consecutive games while Cobham have won their last four, including the scalps of London Cornish and Brighton.
Chi had to make five changes after their good performance against CS Rugby but Ben Polhill was able to continue as captain. Sam Renwick was welcomed back.
They started briskly and full-back Jack Hamilton-Fox twice showed his impressive speed in launching attacks from inside his 22.
Right-winger Toby Golds went close at the corner and Ben Robson broke tackles through the middle with Cobham looking shaky.
Chi advanced again with flanker Olli Charlish helping another raid on the right. But no points were gained and when the hosts woke up they kicked the first of their penalties from 25 metres. A second award was for a scrum offence and was landed from 40 metres.
They moved the ball across their backs to gain a two-on-one situation along the left wing and scored the first try. It was converted for a 13-0 lead.
Chi attacked and from a Nick Blount lineout catch they drove and passed until big Joe Woods plunged over in typical style. Tom Hutchin converted to make it 13-7 after 20 minutes.
Another scrum and drive was spoiled by a failed attempt to kick over the top. Robson featured with another high-stepping canter leading to combination by forwards and backs.
Hutchin sent an excellent high kick to the left wing,Robson jumped to catch and this time he went across for a well-worked try. A missed conversion meant it was 13-12.
Another setback when the referee penalised Chi for a mysterious infringement and three more points were slotted from the 22.
Blues supporters gasped as hooker Jack Arden-Brown threw a huge dummy and steamed 20 metres like a left winger. Cobham missed a penalty but a poor drop-out kick meant Cobham pushed Chi back and their touch kicking won territory.
They grew in confidence while Chi were probably thinking about chances missed. Cobham’s backs showed good hands despite a very wet ball and the Chi defence was suspect. Golds had to mark and clear from a dangerous high kick. HT 16-12 to Cobham and game in the balance.
One fascinating incident had come when the unforgiving referee strode across to reprimand the home line judge for not keeping his flag up long enough when the ball went out. This was a first in my many seasons of reporting matches. Chi were unable to satisfy him throughout the game.
Cobham drove forward and Ben Deavall blocked them with a full-on tackle. Arden-Brown did likewise but suffered a ‘stinger’ and had to go off for a short time.
On came replacement Tyrese Makasi, just 18 years old, who joined the back row with reorganisation in the pack. Another debutant, Scott Bentley, was a replacement in the front row as a promising backs move ended with a knock-on.
Cobham remained in control and Chi had one last chance with a 20m driving maul on the left flank. Cobham held out and Blues lost possession on the five-metre line.
Renwick was replaced and Jack Knight ran on. Cobham took over as Chi tired and a big drive brought a fifth kickable penalty which struck the upright.
Chi knocked on from the rebound but heroically shoved their opponents back to win the five-metre scrum against the head. Blount was yellow-carded for a late tackle and Robson was also surprised to be penalised for his tackling technique. Over went the penalty – 19-12.
Hutchin hobbled off and Cobham attacked with drives and passing before they cracked the last defence, a big lock forward stretching to press down near the posts. Converted – 26-12.
This week Chi entertain old rivals Gravesend, who are struggling. Hopefully some injured Chi players will return to the fray. Kick-off is at 2pm, all support welcome at this time of real need.
Chichester: Drayson, Arden-Brown, Woods, Deavall, Blount, Polhill, Charlish, O’Callaghan, Seaman, Hutchin, Robson, Jenkinson, Renwick, Golds, Hamilton-Fox, Makasi, Knight, Bentley.