Chichester High School for Boys’ under-14 rugby team are in the last four of the county schools cup after beating a strong team from Eastbourne College 24-17 in their Sussex Schools Cup quarter-final.
The high school were proudly wearing their new kit sponsored by the Owen Kenny Partnership and, from the outset, Chichester were the stronger team with the forwards providing a very dynamic platform both in first-phase and second-phase possession.
The front row of Montague, Burgess and Baird were scrummaging hard and carrying well, ably supported by Lucasz and Lawrence in the second row. They are both very strong ball carriers and caused problems all game.
CHSB looked threatening every time they moved the ball wide and stretched Eastbourne on many occasions, only to meet strong defence.
Smith and Martin at half-back are quickly forming an effective partnership while linking well with Coppin and Goodwin in the centre. The midfield defence is proving to be hard to break down and provides a strong basis on which to turn defence into attack.
Chichester scored three unanswered tries in the first half. Two came from identical moves with Martin throwing a long cut-out pass to speedy Russell on the wing to score twice out wide with his trademark dive.
Not to be outdone, Chichester’s other speedster Loader took the ball on the halfway line and evaded two tackles to outstrip the defence and score under the posts with Martin converting. It was 17-0 at half-time.
The second half saw Eastbourne stung into action and Chichester getting on the wrong side of too many penalties. Eastbourne struck back with two quick tries and put Chichester under real pressure.
Now it was the turn of the Chichester back-row of Jarjat Wale and Hildred to put in some strong tackles and rucking.
Williamson at full-back was also key to keeping Eastbourne at bay with strong tackling and his ability to run out of defence.
The game turned again when, following a strong surge from the forwards, Russell stole the ball and sprinted under the posts to complete his hat-trick. Martin again kicked the conversion.
Eastbourne hit back with a converted try of their own.
Ayling, Dunnaway, Crossley and Ben Russell were brought on for the latter stages to provide fresh legs and seal the win.
Sadly, hooker Burgess sustained a collarbone injury and will miss the semi-final.
The under-14 team are unbeaten this season and now in the semi-finals of the Suseex Schools Cup and the States Schools Cup.
The school sent its thanks to coach Keith Martin and to the Owen Kenny Partnership for sponsoring them.