Chichester ended their home National three London south east campaign with a brave effort but a 15-10 defeat against Hertford who arrived fifth in the league.
Wearing red, the home side started strongly with Richard Adams kicking well for position and the lineout working well.
From an early lineout, Chi forced a kickable penalty but Henry Anscombe put the kick wide.
Alex Grace, who had a tremendous game, was tackling like a demon and forcing turnovers and Anscombe used his lightning service to great effect – and the home side were in the ascendancy.
With pretty much their first phase of attack, Hertford put a speculative kick out wide. The home defence did not deal with the threat, allowing the ball to bounce into the hands of the right-wing who shot over. The kicker slotted the tricky conversion with aplomb. 0-7
The hosts were unfazed and powered back into the game with the lineout working well.
We didn’t perhaps get the rub of the green with some decisions but in the end we just didn’t quite play well enough.Rob Lawrence
Their pressure told with another penalty but Adams missed. Chi kept on pushing the ball through hands and Tom Jackson hit a great line and earned another penalty.
This time the home side kicked for the corner a good drive was thwarted with the ref deeming Chi held up.
Chi kept turning the screw and a great Grace lineout take saw them drive again but again the away side scrambled in defence – using fair means or foul they disrupted again.
Lots of home pressure brought no score. Gray, Thompson and Maslen all combined well to launch some lightning breaks and it seemed a matter of time before a score came.
Hertford had other ideas with some late hits and an ugly incident with the away No5 piling in late and off the ball with a heavy punch. A yellow card was the only punishment and two Chi players required treatment. Chris Johnson, the home skipper, was left with a big gash and left the field permanently.
Chi took advantage of the extra man with a well-worked drive and Sean Shepherd was on hand to dot down – the conversion hit the bar ad bounced out so it was 7-5 to Hertford at the break.
The home team started the second half well with another great lineout take ,this time from Jack Bentall, and the forwards rumbled over. Conversion missed – 10-7.
The Hertford left winger went on several powerful runs causing Chi problems and on one run, he breezed past some poor defence. The covering Mark Giddings’ desperate tacle was deemed late and a yellow card was shown.
Hertford applied the pressure to the man-down red pack and after three scrums, the Hertford backs moved the ball well to score.
Hertford’s streetwise team piled on the pressure, moving the ball well with their forwards prepared to mix it. One break was halted by an excellent tap tackle from Anscombe but an in-at-the-side offence led to the Blues putting away a penalty.
The game ebbed and flowed with both sides playing some attacking rugby but with no further score Chichester finished their season with a close but ultimately dissapointing loss.
Head coach Rob Lawrence said: “We didn’t perhaps get the rub of the green with some decisions but in the end we just didn’t quite play well enough.”
CHICHESTER: Greyvensteyn, Shepherd, Woods, Davies, Farmer, Grace, Bentall, Johnson, Anscombe, Adams, Jackson, Gray, Thompson, Maslen, Kirkpatrick, Giddings, Polhill, Seaman.
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