Make ours another double - Chichester chop down Chobham

Front row Dane Gingell powers towards the line to score Chichester's sixth and final try / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Front row Dane Gingell powers towards the line to score Chichester's sixth and final try / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester completed their third double of the season scoring six tries, two conversions and a penalty to Chobham’s three tries and two conversions for a 37-19 London one south win at Oaklands Park.

Chobham looked very dangerous with ball in hand and it is difficult to understand why they are just above the drop zone.

Chichester made eight changes to the team that lost against Thurrock and included two teenagers making the senior rugby debuts. Eighteen-year-old Jack Martin, son of former first XV captain and club chairman Keith Martin, started at fly-half and 19-year-old Lewis Sampson, a former Seaford College student, was on the bench.

The pitch was in remarkably good condition for some running rugby.

Chichester kicked off playing down the slope. The early exchanges were punctuated with handling errors from both sides. Jack Hamilton-Fox and Toby Golds made crucial tackles to halt Chobham’s advance in the Chichester 22.

The deadlock was broken after 16 minutes when Chobham were penalised for crossing. Martin kicked for the corner and from the resulting maul the Chichester pack crossed the line from five metres out with Harry Seaman dotting down. It was converted.

Blues put the Chobham try line under sustained pressure. The ball was passed from one side of the pitch to the other and the next try came, a carbon copy of the first.

Chobham infringed, Martin kicked for the corner and from the resulting maul the Chichester pack crossed the line from five metres with Jack Arden-Brown scoring.

An errant pass went to ground and was picked up by the Chobham winger to dot down in Vultures’ Corner, a conversion making it 12-7.

In the final minute of the first half Chobham infringed just outside their 22m line after a superb run from Sam Renwick, and Martin slotted the penalty.

Chobham had their half-time team talk on the pitch and when Chichester emerged from the changing room it was clear the visitors had the bit between their teeth.

Blues were contained in their own half for nearly 15 minutes, with try-saving tackles from Renwick and Hamilton-Fox preventing a score.

A rare foray into the visitor’s half saw a long pass from Martin bypass three of his team-mates, creating an overlap for Adrian Lynch to pass to Hamilton-Fox for a try in the corner – 20-7.

The visitors looked to have broken through the Blues defence only for Hamilton-Fox to take the Chobham player over the touch line two metres out. Chichester won the lineout, but the clearance kick was charged down and Chobham had their second try, converted for 20-14.

Shortly after the restart a run from Hamilton-Fox was stopped by the Chobham centre with a high tackle, resulting in a yellow card.

With the man advantage Chichester started to apply the pressure. The visitors infringed in front of the posts and Seaman took a quick penalty, darting over the line for his second try and the bonus point.

Chris Johnson put in his trademark runs, bouncing defenders aside. Lynch, now at fly-half, sent a long ball to Johnson, who broke through two defenders and offloaded with one hand to Golds who returned a looping pass inside to Robson before Golds was bundled into touch.

The lineout was claimed by Nick Blount who spun through 360 degrees to score the fifth try.

From the restart Chobham infringed and the kick to touch provided Blues with a lineout on the 22m line. Dane Gingell broke out of the maul and sprinted 20m like a gazelle to score in the corner, much to the enjoyment of the supporters on the clubhouse balcony.

Chobham hadn’t given up and the clearance from a grubber kick was charged down and carried across the line for their third try.

The Chobham scrum-half sensed a bonus-point try was possible and rallied his team. But another attempted grubber kick through the Blues defence was snuffed out by Renwick.

Chichester: Deavall, Arden-Brown, Woods, Lindsay, Blount, O’Callaghan, Wallace (capt.), Johnson, Seaman, Martin, Golds, Lynch, Renwick, Robson, Hamilton-Fox, Gingell, Davies and Sampson.

Chichester are away to London Cornish on Saturday, March 3 (2.30pm) but this weekend Chi’s seconds go away to Hove (2pm) in the Sussex Cup semi-final – all support welcome.

SIMON TANNER