Chichester's struggle for results continued when they lost at Camberley.
They made six changes to the side that lost to Medway in the first match of 2019. Josh Cameron, Martin O’Callaghan, Ryan Spriggs, and Charlie Wallace came into the pack, with Toby Golds in the backs and Richard Ives making his debut from the bench.
Camberley received the ball from the kick-off and were pinned back on their 22m line as they tried to work an opening to move the ball up the pitch. A crunching tackle from Sam Drayson allowed Henry Anscombe to steal the ball and move it out wide where Camberley infringed. No advantage was gained as play continued, and Anscombe slotted a simple penalty.
Camberley kicked long from the restart and Blues’ clearance found touch on the 22m line. From the lineout Chichester were immediately under pressure from Camberley’s driving maul which was stopped illegally. The penalty was kicked into touch on the 5m line and Camberley’s pack headed for the try line but was stopped short.
Chichester’s defence weathered five further phases before the ball was dotted down - conversion missed, 5-3 to the hosts. From the restart Blues came under sustained pressure but eventually cleared the ball deep into the Camberley half after an opposition infringement on the 5m line.
Slick passing and speedy backs soon had Camberley back in the Blues’ red zone and gave them another lineout on the 5m line. Camberley’s driving maul was single-handedly stopped by Joe Woods providing Anscombe the chance to clear the ball upfield. The respite was short and Camberley’s impressive full-back penetrated the Blues defence to score under the posts - 12-3. This was repeated two minutes later when Camberley ran the ball from their 22m line for 19-3 after 22 minutes.
From the restart Camberley attempted to run the ball out of their in-goal area and were penalised at the breakdown. Blues kicked for touch and from the lineout drove for the line where they were stopped illegally. After several pick and goes the ball was knocked on and Anscombe again kicked for touch.
Camberley stole the ball at the lineout and cleared. Then came Blues’ best chance of the half when the ball was stolen by Charlie Wallace and passed across the field creating a two-man overlap.
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The final pass was knocked on letting Camberley off the hook. However, Chichester enjoyed an extended period of play in the opposition half and were rewarded with a penalty under the posts kicked by Anscombe - 19-6 and half-time.
The second half started with both teams playing scrappy rugby and giving away penalties, but Chichester were keeping Camberley pinned back in the opposition red zone. An attempted interception was adjudged to be deliberately knocked on and Blues were shown a yellow card.
Despite being a man down Chichester remained composed soaking up the pressure as required. A rare foray by Camberley, from a dropped pass was cleared to touch after an infringement and once again Blues headed down the pitch.
A moment of indiscipline on the halfway line allowed the Camberley backs to advance the ball to the try line. From a scrum 5m out the No8 crashed over for the first score of the second half, from which the conversion made it 26-6.
The scrappy play and penalties continued until a fine run from Sam Renwick cut through the opposition defence, sending Gareth Davies on his way. The final pass was overthrown but from the lineout, Camberley dropped the ball and Chris Johnson burst through to touch it down. Conversion missed.
Camberley’s right winger made a solo run from deep in his own half and was tackled illegally on the Chichester 22m line. The referee produced a yellow card and Blues were once again reduced to 14 men. In the final minutes Camberley scored two tries from interceptions, one of which was converted. The final score was 38-11.
Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Woods, Boulton, O’Callaghan, Spriggs, Wallace (Capt.), Johnson, Seaman, Anscombe, McLagan, Thompson, Renwick, Robson, Golds, Ives, Magda and Davies.
* On Saturday, Chichester travel down the A27 to play Havant on their new 4G pitch (3pm).