Brilliant Blues demolish high-flying Park

Chris Johnson in possession for Chichester against Westcombe Park / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Chris Johnson in possession for Chichester against Westcombe Park / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester gave their best performance of the season and overwhelmed their high-flying visitors Westcombe Park with a non-stop attacking display which clinched a 34-10 win.

It was against all predictions as Park were in fourth place in National three London south east after a good season.

The Blues were quite brilliant in winning the ball, carrying and passing at speed, carving openings and finishing clinically. They never let their foot off the pedal and the visitors were not allowed to get going.

They scored five excellent tries, three conversions and a penalty to one converted try and a penalty.

Chi have shown that at home on a firm pitch and greatly encouraged by their supporters, they can give any team in the league a very hard game. They will now aim to maintain this form and team spirit in their last three games against strong opponents.

After the disappointing defeat at East Grinstead, head coach Rob Lawrence made several changes which paid off.

Chi have shown that at home on a firm pitch and greatly encouraged by their supporters, they can give any team in the league a very hard game.

University returnees Henry Anscombe, Alex Grace and Danny Kirkpatrick came in, so did Danny Gray and Jack Maslen in the centre and Marius Greyvensteyn at loose head prop.

Chi kicked off towards the clubhouse in sunshine and for 20 minutes attacked in well controlled phases, pinning Park in their own half.

The scrum was steady, Grace and Aaron Davies did well in lineouts and Chris Johnson, Gray, Maslen and Tom Jackson tested the Park defence.

A big drive to the line by the pack resulted in a yellow card for Park’s fly-half. Another drive was held up on the line by a last tackle and the ball was sent from the scrum across the backs, Maslen penetrating but brought down by a desperate tackle.

Left winger Harry Seaman made ground from the blindside of a scrum, the ball was rucked and sent out again for Davies to take a short pass, step inside and stretch over the line for the first deserved try. Richard Adams converted.

Park entered Chi’s half for the first time and won a penalty which struck the left upright and Chi cleared after slight confusion. Kirkpatrick fielded a high ball confidently and Maslen caused Park some jitters as he swerved past groping tackles.

Chi missed a penalty and a big Park lock was sinbinned for knocking Anscombe to the ground when trying to take a tap penalty. Anscombe kicked the resulting penalty from nearly 40 metres.

Chi were relentless – Tom Belcher and Johnson transferred the ball to Gray and on to Maslen to break through and offload to Jackson for a fine try on the right. A missed conversion meant it was 15-0.

Park had five minutes before the break when the showed signs of awakening but Sean Shepherd takled firmly to block a chance. They did get a penalty which was slotted by fly-half Cameron.

Chi were relentless and soon scored their third try. From the scrum, Jackson shook off a tackle to score five metres in from the corner. Conversion missed.

Park advanced to the Chi 22 and handled and drove but the home defence was secure, Anscombe clearing long to touch. Phil Veltom came on at tighthead and soon made his presence felt.

Greyvensteyn caught a high ball impressively and a huge kick by Adams caused some Park panic in front of thir posts. Scrums followed five metres out and Chi hammered at the door, Jack Bentall, Johnson, Veltom and Gray nearly getting across.

They finally collected the bonus-point fourth try with a superb move from the 22. Jackson and Gray split the Park defence and Jackson gave a neat inside pass to Maslen accelerating on a lovely line to round the posts and touch down. Anscombe converted for a 27-3 lead.

Shepherd went off after a knock, Belcher came back on and Toby Golds replaced Seaman. The Chi forwards continued to rule, Martin O’Callaghan, Davies and Johnson carrying strongly and the back row snuffing out any attempt by their opposite numbers to get past.

Following another Maslen burst of speed, Adams attacked and kicked over the onrushing defence, gathering expertly from the bounce and scoring behind the posts. Anscombe converted.

Gray sent one of his long and accurate passes to Bentall who had a 20m run. Jackson was twice well-tackled at the end of backs moves with Kirkpatrick joining the line.

Park sought consolation and pressed for five minutes but found it hard to breach until replacement Coulter dived over from close range, a try converted by full-back Reynolds.

Golds had to be stopped by a firm tackle as Chi finished as they had begun, attacking in force. A final penalty was missed in front but perhaps it was an act of mercy.

This week Blues make a very long journey to Shelford, near Cambridge. If they can play as well again, it will be an interesting contest (3pm kick-off).

CHICHESTER: Greyvensteyn, Shepherd, Belcher, O’Callaghan, Davies, Grace, Bentall, Johnson, Anscombe, Adams, Seaman, Gray, Maslen, Jackson, Kirkpatrick, Veltom, Grinsted, Golds.

ROGER GOULD

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