Chichester can't fell Sevenoaks in Oaklands Park gloom

Chichester's Sam Renwick gets stopped in his tracks in the defeat to Sevenoaks / Picture by Michael Clayden
Chichester's Sam Renwick gets stopped in his tracks in the defeat to Sevenoaks / Picture by Michael Clayden

Chichester ended up well-beaten by a strong Sevenoaks side at a gloomy Oaklands Park.

The Blues made four changes to the side that had beaten Cobham. Martin O’Callaghan and Jon Lindsay came into the pack, with Luke Kemish and Alex Margason on the bench.

Having won four games on the bounce Chichester welcomed Sevenoaks for the final home game of 2018 knowing a win would move them further up the table. As kick-off approached the weather deteriorated and strong winds and driving rain started to sweep across the park.

Blues kicked off towards Oaklands Pavilion with the wind at their backs and immediately had Sevenoaks under pressure. With their clearance kicks held up in the wind, Sevenoaks were struggling to get out of their own half.

Henry Anscombe put in a series of probing kicks deep into opposition territory, trying to force an error in the appalling conditions, and Chris Johnson made a number of his trademark charges looking to punch a hole in the defence.

A Sevenoaks’ infringement at the breakdown provided Anscombe the opportunity to put in beautifully weighted kick to Vulture’s Corner.

From the lineout Blues advanced towards the try line with a series of pick and goes for what looked like a certain try. However, the defence was well organised and momentum was lost, allowing Sevenoaks to turn the ball over and clear their lines.

A further opposition infringement allowed Charlie Norton the chance to open the scoring with a kick from 25m out.

From the restart Blues attacked again, driving Sevenoaks back towards their 22m line. Another infringement at the breakdown provided Norton with an opportunity to increase the score but the kick, in the gusting wind, fell short.

Just after the 30-minute mark Sevenoaks made a rare foray into the Chichester half creating space for the winger to head for the corner, before providing a pass inside to beat the last man for a try, converted for a 7-3 lead at the break.

From the restart Sevenoaks began to build pressure with Anscombe using low raking clearance kicks to clear the Blues’ lines. However, after seven minutes it was opposition’s turn to attack the Chichester line with a series of pick and goes. Despite resolute defending Sevenoaks eventually found a gap to touchdown for their second try – 14-3.

For the next quarter of an hour there was deadlock through good defensive work and poor handling, from both sides, until Sevenoaks scored a carbon copy of their second try for 21-3.

Blues come on strong at Cobham
As the clock wound down the opposition pack became more dominant and the Blues’ penalty count started to rise. And then a chink of light... quick ball from the breakdown was passed across the backs to Sam Renwick, who stretched his legs to outstrip the Sevenoaks defence before being stopped inside the 22 metre line, by the full back.

The Blues soon found themselves back defending their red zone. From a scrum Sevenoaks’ pack applied pressure, Blues infringed yet again, and the referee awarded a penalty try that made it 28-3.

Hove hammered by Chichester
With less than five minutes left, and in improving weather conditions, neither team could add to their scores.

The Blues failed to take their chances in the first half and had no answer to the Sevenoaks’ pack in the second period. Chichester drop one place to ninth and Sevenoaks move up to second.

Supporters’ man of the match was Chris Johnson.

Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Woods, Lindsay, O’Callaghan, Bowden, Makasi, Johnson, Seaman, Anscombe, McLagan, Thompson, Renwick, Golds, Norton, Magda, Kemish, Margason.

This Saturday Chichester travel to Tottonians for their final game of 2018 (2pm).