Air festival had lift-off - now so do Chichester

Chris Johnson was on the scoresheet at Bournemouth. He's pictured here going over in the play-off win over Eton Manor last April   Picture by Chris Hatton
Chris Johnson was on the scoresheet at Bournemouth. He's pictured here going over in the play-off win over Eton Manor last April Picture by Chris Hatton
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Chichester visited Bournemouth for their final friendly and, with air festival aircraft circling overhead, they won by four tries and three conversions to three converted tries - 26-21 the final score.

It was an encouraging performance by the Blues who, especially in the second half, played very good rugby against opponents with recent experience in National two. But certain weaknesses were noted by the coaches and will be addressed.

It was fairly even for 30 minutes with both sides attacking in turn. Scrum-half Billy Toone was injured and left the pitch with a broken nose.

Danny Kirkpatrick replaced him.

Chi pressed and the home No8 was sin-binned for a scrum offence. Several scrums followed five metres out but Bs held on with more infringements and a yellow card for their scrum half as the first offender came back on.

Finally Aaron Davies picked up from the back row and fed Tom Jackson to touch down at the right corner. Chris Johnson caught well from the drop out and passed to outside centre Aaron Lowe to break and make 30 metres.

At the other end Richard Adams retrieved an awkward situation and counter-attacked cleverly with Tom Belcher in support. Just before the break, a penalty and two drives from the lineout put Bournemouth’s No8 over, with the conversion by their fly-half making it 7-5 to them at the break.

Chi used five more subs and moved up a gear. The backs looked sharp and Sam Renwick was nearly through. Another smooth attack and Phil Dickin took a final pass and cut inside for a 20m run to score their second try, converted by Danny Gray.

This was followed by a scintillating move featuring Dane Gingell, Renwick and Adams but the last pass went out of play.

Bs hit back and scored their second try and conversion from another lineout and drive. Their winger was forced out by Adams before a Bs player received a serious hip injury and could not be moved.

The game was moved to another pitch and immediately Chi won their lineout and slick transfer gave the ball to Rory Tanner. A burst of speed and chip ahead saw him gather and dive across. Gray converted.

Rhys Gillings made an excellent tackle to stop Bournemouth’s dangerous outside centre and Tanner was forced out as Chi swung right again. A brilliant attack with well-timed passes put Gillings over and conversion by Gray. The Red Arrows flew over to salute the best try of the afternoon.

Adams got over the try line but had received a forward pass. Bs never gave up and with the last play their backs stretched the Chi defence to create the overlap for a well-worked consolation try and conversion.

The Blues thanked Bournemouth for their hospitality wished well their injured man, who was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Chi are now prepared for their first outing in National 3LSE against London Irish Wildgeese. Huge support would be very welcome.

ROGER GOULD