Chichester are back in form - and making Hay against Heath

Ben Polhill soars to take a lineout in Chichester's big win over Haywards Heath
Ben Polhill soars to take a lineout in Chichester's big win over Haywards Heath

After defeats to Old Elthamians and in Guernsey, Chichester were fired up from the start at home to Haywards Heath and played extremely well to win 59-10 with eight tries, five conversions and three penalties to a converted try and penalty.

Heath competed in the first half but their defence collapsed in the second in the face of relentless pressure by the determined Blues.

The home forwards won good possession and the backs had space to put together impressive moves, the tries shared between the pack and the half-backs.

Fly-half Stuart Pearham – named man of the match – collected 24 points and he and tighthead prop Phil Veltom were outstanding. It was Chichester’s tenth win and put them two points clear at the top.

Pearham returned, Fijian Manoa Satala made his home debut, Ben Robson was on the right wing and Richard Adams moved to full-back.

Chichester started quickly and the backs were fed quick ball, outside centre Richard Deed making ground. Moses Kasujja offloaded to Ben Polhill to swat tackles and pass to Billy Toone. Heath infringed and Pearham kicked the first points.

Heath struck back and winger Atkins ran long after a weak tackle but Polhill brought him down. The penalty was converted by fly-half Jackson.

Satala, Toone and Scott Barlow linked well to force another penalty, slotted by Pearham. His tactical kicking set up useful positions and on 28 minutes a tremendous drive rolled Heath back 18 metres for Veltom to pick up and crash over for the first try.

Kasujja ran hard and two more penalties put Chichester ten metres out. For ten minutes they pounded the try line from lineouts, rucks and scrums.

Heath tackled like tigers and there was a big hit on Robson running at top speed when the ball was sent out.

Heath conceded more penalties to stem the tide but the referee was unreasonable in refusing to give a penalty try and a yellow card.

When Veltom did get over, the try was disallowed and play brought back to give Chichester another penalty.

Chichester’s only reward for their hard work was the third penalty converted by Pearham on half-time.

The Blues scrum had proved powerful and Veltom had given his opposite number a torrid time.

Barlow, Blount and Polhill were jumping successfully in the lineouts.

The score was only 14-3, but after the break Heath had little left to offer.

Adams enjoyed a run and dink over the top and Satala could have scored but he passed back and the chance went astray.

The Blues won the scrum against the head and Kasujja shot through a blindside gap to touch down, with extras added by Pearham.

Chichester launched all-out assault from the Heath 22. A lineout and scrum sent Kasujja on his way and Veltom was on hand to plunge over.

Against tired defenders, the Blues entertained the supporters with excellent moves. Classic lineout and driving maul saw hooker Rob Lawrence get his usual try. He was injured and replaced.

Adams gathered in his own half and did a 50m dance along the touchline, passing inside for Pearham to finish off and convert.

At the lineout, lock Ski Sauliga slapped the ball to replacement Chris Wagstaff to score from short range, and extras were added by Pearham. Nick Shopland handled well in open play and Niall Goldie skittled tacklers on a 20m break.

Another lineout move ended in nimble scrum-half Wagstaff diving over. Pearham converted again.

Loose play by Chichester gave Heath No8 Harle a chance, converted by Jackson. But Polhill replied with the eighth and final try, duly converted to round off a splendid 40 minutes.

This was the third time Chichester have scored 50 points or more.

Director of rugby Paul Colley said: “It was a very good performance by the whole squad. Heath made things difficult in the first half with resolute defence but we had a great second half.”

The Blues are at Cobham this Saturday (2.15pm).

CHICHESTER: Shopland, Lawrence, Veltom, Barlow, Blount, Goldie, Polhill, Kasujja, Toone, Pearham, Robson, Satala, Deed, Golds, Adams, Wheeler, Sauliga, Wagstaff.

ROGER GOULD