Bad first half - great second: Chichester get better of KCS Old Boys

Chichester RFC's class of 2019-20 / Picture by Michael Clayden
Chichester RFC's class of 2019-20 / Picture by Michael Clayden

A bonus point 38-20 win for Chichester over KCS Old Boys - their recently promoted visitors from Motspur Park in Surrey - came despite the Blues starting badly.

KCS’s young and fast backs put them ahead at the interval before the Blues rolled up their sleeves and dominated the second half, scoring 24 points without reply as their opponents ran out of steam.

Outstanding for the Blues were their experienced second row forwards. Nick Blount totally ruled the lineouts and Martin O’Callaghan consistently made good ground from the rucks.

For Chichester Ben Deavall, Zac Conoly and Ben Polhill came into the pack, Sandy Wheatley made his debut at scrum half with Liam Rowland and Will Norton on the bench. Brothers Charlie and Will Norton were playing together in the first XV for the first time.

The rock-hard, dusty pitch made it tough, particularly for the visitors.

KCS kicked off up the slope and the Blues again found themselves down early. The visitors created an overlap and breached the Chichester defence close to the posts for a converted try inside four minutes.

KCS started to move the ball around and tackles from Charlie Norton and Matt McLagan prevented try-scoring opportunities. A penalty for offside 25m out provided the visitors with another three points.

A Ben Polhill steal fed the backs and the visitors were penalised at the breakdown. Blues opted for the kick to the corner and from the lineout the pack mauled across the line with Nick Blount touching down. Converted by Charlie Norton, it was 7-10.

Soon an overlap was created and Sam Renwick dummied inside the last defender to score and that was concerted again by Norton for a 14-10 lead.

KCS quickly got back on top with a converted try to lead 17-14. A Blues’ infringement in the scrum provided KCS with another three points from the boot of Stoppani over 35 metres out.

It took eight minutes of the second half for Chichester to reduce the 20-14 deficit. A blistering 25m run from Renwick was stopped under the posts.

Sandy Wheatley spun the ball out to Harry Seaman whose looping pass cleared three defenders to find McLagan on the touchline for a simple score in the corner - 19-20.

The Blues looked more comfortable and were taking the attack to the visitors. After 58 minutes the referee produced a yellow card and KCS were a man down. From a KCS infringement Chi reran the rolling maul play from the first half with Charlie Wallace touching down for the bonus-point try and a 24-20 lead.

For the next ten minutes Chichester absorbed pressure when required and tested the visitors’ defence with probing runs from Renwick and McLagan.

With eight minutes left a carry from Martin O’Callaghan found the gap close to the posts for the fifth try, converted by Norton for 31-20.

The try of the day came two minutes from the end when McLagan came off his wing to run a diagonal line between the KCS centres and receive a one-handed offload from Shaun Baker to score under the posts. Another conversion meant it ended 38-20 to give Chi five points.

Supporters’ MoM was Martin O’Callaghan.

Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Deavall, Blount, Conoly, Polhill, Wallace, O’Callaghan, Wheatley, Baker, Blewitt, Seaman, Renwick, McLagan, C Norton, Spriggs, and Rowland, W Norton.

On Saturday Chichester travel to the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields in Roehampton Vale, to take on London Cornish (2.15pm).