Chi serve up a Christmas stuffing for rivals Pompey
CHICHESTER Rugby Club outplayed their neighbours and romped home by eight tries, six conversions and a penalty to seal their fourth consecutive league win over Pompey in two seasons - but this time by the biggest margin.
The visitors were on the back foot from the kick off and apart from ten minutes in the latter part of the second half, they offered little attacking threat as Chi ran out 55-0 winners.
So Blues finished 2011 a point ahead at the top, having scored 505 points with just 191 against in 14 games. The only slight disappointment was that there was no Christmas spirit in the game and instead too many niggles between the players.
Chi’s fly-half Stuart Pearham bagged 20 points, while a remarkable feature was in the second half when father and son, Nick and Joe Shopland played together in the front row, the first time this has occurred in 1st XV living memory.
Pearham repeated the huge break he had made at Cobham, whistling through a gap with sidestep and swerve, beating three defenders over 40 yards to open the score.
After the ball had been kicked dead, Pompey opted for a 22 scrum but lost it, and after a scrum to Chi, quick thinking from man-of-the-match Billy Toone saw him dart down the blindside to score the second try. Pearham missed a fairly easy conversion, but was to get all six that followed.
Knock-ons spoilt a couple of attacks, but Pearham kicked a penalty for infringement at the ruck. Chi then kicked a penalty to the left corner and launched the drive which was killed and a yellow card brandished to a Pompey prop.
Another lineout and controlled maul put Rob Lawrence across to touch down to take the score to 20-0 and he soon went on another run and was clearly enjoying the space available.
Chi were dominating the midfield with their powerful forwards winning possession, while the back row men were quick around the fringes and Jack Taggart was doing a good carrying job number eight.
However, Ben Polhill had to stop a Pompey thrust with his usual anticipation and tackle and Toone retrieved a kick with an expert overhead kick of his own. There was a skirmish in the ruck and a player from each side went to the sin bin.
The first half ended with a typical break by Richard Adams but the attempt to run through the full back was met with a very firm leg tackle, but still at half-time the game was almost won.
Scott Barlow and Veltom were prominent as Chi picked up the tempo again. From a lineout,Polhill grabbed the ball and went like a knife through butter to score the bonus-point try.
Adams ran 30 metres with deception and acceleration and slick handling, driving and passing saw outside centre Richard Deed cross to take the score to 34-0.
The Shoplands and Chris Wagstaff came on from the bench and Adams nearly penetrated again.
Polhill, the total warrior, ignored his facial bruises, picked up from a scrum against the head and fed Toone to dive over for his brace.
Barlow then led another assault and a pass back gave Wagstaff the seventh try. Pompey had raised their game to exert pressure in the home 22 and Chi were holding on to keep a clean sheet but they managed to force a knock on and the last chance was gone.
Finally Taggart charged away from a scrum and offloaded to Goldie to run in under the posts for his first try of the season. The whistle then went, much to the relief of the visitors and their travelling supporters.
Head coach Richard Isaac said: “Today we really played well, with many game plays we’ve been working on coming to fruition; this was a true team performance.”
Director of rugby Paul Colley added: “Portsmouth had shown some good form recently and we expected a very tough match. I was really pleased with our response with some excellent individual performances, but most of all a real squad effort to score over 50 points.”
After the Christmas break Chi’s next game is at Thanet Wanderers, a long journey to Broadstairs.