Chichester are not so thorough in Thurrock

The red and blue shirts of Chichester make their presence felt at Thurrock / Picture by Alison Tanner
The red and blue shirts of Chichester make their presence felt at Thurrock / Picture by Alison Tanner

After last minute withdrawals, Chichester made the long trip to Essex with only two replacements - and a 20-12 defeat was perhaps no real surprise.

There were five changes to the side that hung on for victory against Dartfordians. Dane Gingell, Tyrese Makasi and John Lindsay came into the forwards, Shaun Baker returned in the backs with Tom Bowman on the bench.

Sam Drayson with the ball at Thurrock / Picture by Alison Tanner

Sam Drayson with the ball at Thurrock / Picture by Alison Tanner

The match kicked with the floodlights cutting through the drizzle and gloom. The wind was gusting off the Thames Estuary and was behind Chichester as they kicked off.

Having scored tries inside 70 seconds in their previous two matches the Blues found themselves under attack and pinned in their own half from the off.

They looked comfortable in defence soaking up the pressure but after 15 minutes an infringement provided Thurrock with the first score of the match from a penalty 35m out.

Two minutes later they doubled the score with another penalty. It took Blues 21 minutes to cross the halfway line with the ball for the first time.

A series of phases advanced the ball towards the try line before being spilled 12m from the try line, allowing Thurrock to clear their lines.

A five-minute period of pressure from Blues nearly resulted in a try from Tom Blewitt but he was tackled into touch just short by the Thurrock full-back.

Shortly after, an infringement from the home side provided Blewitt with an opportunity to put points on the board with a penalty in front of the posts – 6-3 with 28 minutes played.

Thurrock moved further ahead with a well-worked move that breached the Chichester defence for a try out wide. A superb conversion into the wind saw the ball drift back to graze the inside of the post and it was 13-3.

In the final minutes of the half Blewitt kicked two further penalties to reduce the deficit, giving a 13-9 half-time deficit.

The second half started with Blues under pressure and pinned back in their own half. The wind seemed to have picked up during the interval and Chichester’s first two clearance kicks were held up.

With 48 minutes played the Thurrock fly-half sliced through the Blues’ defence to score under the posts – the conversion meant it was 20-9.

For the next 15 minutes both teams struggled to retain possession with ambitious passes going to ground or being knocked on. Chichester reduced the deficit on 63 minutes with another penalty from Blewitt.

The Blues couldn’t find the offload to release the runner and unlock the Thurrock defence and the game finished 20-12.

They left Essex frustrated that they didn’t take their chances and secure a losing bonus point.

Man of the match was Tom Bowman who had expected to be on the bench for the second XV.

Chichester: Drayson, Gingell, Woods, Blount, Conoly, Makasi, Polhill, Lindsay, Seaman, Davies, Robson, Baker, Thompson, Trodd, Blewitt, McLagan, Bowman.

* Chichester’s next match is on Saturday, December 7, when they entertain Camberley, who are second in the league, one point behind leaders Westcombe Park. Kick-off is 2pm.