Chichester bring scintillating home campaign to a fitting end

Phil Dickin on the charge for Chichester in their 74-0 victory over Chobham
Phil Dickin on the charge for Chichester in their 74-0 victory over Chobham

In warm sunshine and on a very hard pitch, Chichester’s 74-0 beating of Chobham completed an outstanding home season in which they won 12 out of 13 games.

Their only defeat at Oaklands was a narrow one by eventual champions Tonbridge Juddians. It has been a great season for the Blues, with the firsts guaranteed at least third place, the seconds winning their league and the Sussex Bowl and the thirds being promoted to Sussex one.

Several club and individual records have been set and supporters have enjoyed excellent rugby from well-motivated players.

Hats off to relegated Chobham who kept their sporting flag flying, refused to give up and took it on the chin as Chichester scored 12 tries and seven conversions. Winger Ben Robson grabbed a hat-trick and Richard Adams collected 24 points.

London Irish Amateur again managed to win and get their bonus point but it must have been close at 27-24 against Beckenham. So second place – and a chance of promotion in the play-offs – goes to the wire and this week Chichester travel to face the champions while Irish go to Thanet.

In the first half, Chichester made a number of mistakes in their exuberance but scored four tries and a conversion after Moses Kasujja, supported by Liam Ferguson, made the first try by Jon Lindsay.

The Chobham scrum were holding their own but Ferguson broke and passed to Adams to go over. Billy Toone was conducting operations and he was next to score after Nick Blount had caught lineout ball and Phil Dickin ran 30m with Toone in support.

The conversion was over but from another Blount take, Kasujja brushed off weak tackles and galloped from halfway to make it 22-0.

Chichester lost some possession by giving away penalties and the first dangerous Chobham attack was stopped by a solid tackle by Paul Todd. Chobham’s lineout also did well from tap back ball on their own throws.

Nick Shopland won applause as he put in a tackle to prevent a break and the half ended with a Tom Polhill thrust failing through a forward pass.

Strong replacements came off the bench for Blues and it was soon clear they were about to cut loose and parade their speed, support running and offload skills.

The backs were given quick ball and slick handling put Robson across for two tries in five minutes, one converted.

An Adams break with passes to Blount and on to Toby Golds gave the full back a clear run to the line, the extras added.

From a lineout, Chichester drove hard with the hard-working Josh Pszczonka tucked in and able to touch down. Chobham were tiring fast but tried hard to hang on.

They were unable to resist more swift transfer by the Blues, finished by the burly Robson and converted to make it 53-0.

Pszczonka had a long run, carried on by Ross Fairbairn and Todd, back to Fairbairn and over.

The next try was perhaps the best with Fairbairn, Todd, Kasujja, Lindsay and Robson linking across the field to put Golds away and across at pace.

The final score was also a gem as the backs moved smoothly, Adams gave it to Fairbairn and looped cleverly to take the return pass and complete conversions of the last three tries.

The Blues go to Tonbridge as underdogs against a team who are powerful in all departments and have only lost one game. But Chichester have won 15 in a row and will be keen to get one more.

All support is welcome, kick-off 3pm.

CHICHESTER: Shopland, Lawrence, Pszczonka, Lindsay, Blount, Dickin, Ferguson, Kasujja, Toone, Adams, Todd, T Polhill, Fairbairn, Robson, Golds, Veltom, B Polhill, Reid.

ROGER GOULD