Low-flying Lancaster salutes high-flying Chichester

A try for Phil Veltom as Chichester thrash Thanet
A try for Phil Veltom as Chichester thrash Thanet

Chichester demolished Thanet Wanderers 76-8 after the under-strength visitors endured a long journey from Kent.

The Blues ran them ragged but they took their medicine and had no complaints. Chichester had almost total possession in open play thanks to their dynamic forwards and they gave the backs time and space to show brilliant running and interpassing skills.

Twelve tries were scored and eight converted. The Ws had the consolation of a try and a penalty.

A memorable moment was the appearance of a low-flying Lancaster bomber as Chichester scored their fourth try and bonus point to guarantee top spot in the league.

The Blues were without hooker Rob Lawrence, replaced by second XV captain Mark Giddings. They were soon in their stride and Tom Lowe and Ben Polhill were held up on the try line. But another driving maul from the 22 sent Polhill over after seven minutes.

A Ws probe was repulsed and fly-half Stuart Pearham stepped neatly out of defence to put Adams away. The full-back exchanged passes twice at speed with Ross Fairbairn and crossed for a spectacular try. Pearham’s second conversion made it 14-0.

Ws were aided by three penalties for infringements and Case kicked three points. Chris Johnson made a break and went close, as did Fairbairn, tackled out near the corner.

Hard forward driving over 20 metres produced three good rucks and Phil Veltom was unstoppable from short range. The conversion made it 21-3.

Martin O’Callaghan started the next raid. Pearham’s measured high cross-kick fell into Fairbairn’s arms as the the roar of the bomber’s engines startled everyone. The right winger kept his eye on the ball and navigated his way past the last tackler for the bonus score.

Skipper Scott Barlow drove powerfully, scattering opponents. From a lineout Billy Toone delivered quick ball and Pearham passed to Ben Robson, who crashed over between the posts.

Ws achieved parity in the tight but were dominated in the loose and the half-time score was 31-3.

Two minutes into the second half, a driving maul with Johnson and Veltom prominent resulted in a firm pass to prop Nick Shopland. His swallow dive earned a try and high marks for technical merit; less for artistic interpretation.

Ws pressed into the left corner, Walker-Smith finally touching down. Chichester’s reply was quick with scintillating passes and Johnson bullocking over in his last match before going off to Hull University. Johnson is an outstanding flanker with the qualities to be successful in the national leagues.

Replacements came on and Phil Dickin soon made his mark. A maul was formed and Veltom clinched his second try.

A Pearham penalty into Vulture’s Corner and efficient lineout catch set up Giddings to run through the defence. Two more conversions by Pearham made it 55-8. Toone broke through and offloaded to Dickin for a double dummy in flamboyant style and the tenth try, with extras added. Adams ran from 30 metres, with a shimmy and hot-shoe shuffle bewildering tacklers, climaxing with a dance round an invisible maypole.

In the last play Toone sidestepped past tired tackles to score. Pearham finished the show with his eighth conversion.

The final score was the biggest margin at Oaklands since one a few years ago when Tonbridge Juddians were routed.

This week, Chichester trek to Dover expecting a much harder game.

CHICHESTER: Shopland, Giddings, Veltom, Barlow, O’Callaghan, Johnson, Polhill, Lowe, Toone, Pearham, Walker, Robson, Knowles, Fairbairn, Adams, Corrigan, Dickin, Golds.

ROGER GOULD