Chichester chalked up their first away win of the season with a 19-16 win at Chobham.
The Blues made seven changes to the side that beat London Cornish at Oaklands Park. Ed Bowden and Baz Magda came into the pack with Henry Anscombe returning in the backs, after a 13-month sabbatical. Adam Geal, Hamish Minton and Finn Bamber were on the bench. Charlie Wallace returned to captain the side.
On a chilly but sunny afternoon the Fowlers Wells pitch was in perfect condition.
Early on fine play by Ed Bowden, Harry Seaman, Gareth Davies, Chris Johnson and Matt McLagan was backed up by support from Joe Woods and Tyrese Makasi. McLagan went to ground five metres from the opposition try line.
The ball was recycled but the ball was knocked on and Chichester were denied early points.
The Chobham winger was on his way and when the ball was kicked on, the Chichester full-back won the foot race but was isolated and Blues were penalised for not releasing. Chobham slotted the penalty for a 3-0 lead.
Seaman spun a ball out to Davies and on to Rhys Thompson, who made ground before finding McLagan. But the pass back inside to Thompson was deemed to be forward.
The Blues pack drove Chobham back and Sam Renwick was held up a metre from the try line close to the posts.
Blues were penalised for infringing at the breakdown, Chobham kicked for the corner and from the lineout drove across the line for a simple try – 8-0.
From the restart Chichester recovered the ball and Chobham were penalised. Charlie Norton slotted the penalty from 25 metres ti make it 8-3.
From the restart an attack was halted by a Thompson tackle and Chobham conceded another penalty. Norton kicked it from 30m.
Chichester seemed odds on to score a try but the final pass went astray.
An offload found the Chobham speedy left winger who ran 60m to score Chobham’s second try – 13-6.
Norton slotted another penalty but with two minutes left in the first half Chichester were penalised for what was indicated as a deliberate knock-on and Chobham slotted the penalty to lead 16-9 at the break.
Chichester started the second period positively and forced an opposition infringement at the breakdown. Norton was on target with another long-range kick.
Anscombe, Johnson, Woods, Bowden and Wallace set up an inside pass to Baz Magda who was bundled into touch eight metres from the line.
From the lineout Chichester were awarded a scrum and Anscombe, now at scrum half, spun it left for the charging Johnson who fooled the defenders with a deft one-handed offload to Wallace. He outstripped two defenders to touch down for Chichester’s first try – 19-16, and Chichester in front after 60 minutes.
Sam Drayson enjoyed an impressive run to the opposition 22m line before Chichester contained Chobham for 20 minutes.
With 80 minutes elapsed Chobham came to life and threw everything they had at Chichester.
Seaman stopped what looked a certain try, but play was pulled back for an earlier infringement. Rather than kick the penalty for 3 points, and a draw, Chobham opted for the corner and a lineout.
Chichester infringed and when it was clear no advantage could be gained Chobham again opted for the corner and another lineout.
A yellow card left Chichester with 14 men but they held on and the four points put them up to tenth in the table.
Supporters’ men of the match were Norton and Anscombe.
Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Woods, Bowden, Magda, Makasi, Wallace, Johnson, Seaman, Davies, McLagan, Thompson, Renwick, Anscombe, Norton, Geal, Minton, Bamber.
On Saturday Chichester entertain Hove at Oaklands Park (2.30pm).