Chichester beat the wind and rain - and Cobham

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

In appalling weather Chichester had their usual tough game against Surrey visitors Cobham, but eventually ran out 23-20 winners.

They held on against a late rally to win the London one south clash by two converted tries and three penalties to a try and five penalties.

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Considering the conditions, the performance was good by both teams with a physical battle by the forwards and some reasonable handling by the backs.

Chichester made six changes to the side that lost to the Honourable Artillery Company last time out. John Lindsay returned in the pack, Elliot Haydon and Tom Blewitt came into the backs with Sam Drayson, Alex Taylor and Ben Robson on the bench.

See a picture special from Chichester v Cobham here
An hour before kick-off the rain started to drive across Oaklands Park and only the hardiest supporters ventured on to the touchline. Chichester won the toss and elected to play down the slope and into the wind.

Having pressured the visitors from the start it took Blues five minutes to get on the scoreboard. From the back of the ruck, ten metres out, Shaun Baker faked a pass and nipped through the gap in the Cobham defence to dive under the posts for a try.

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

It was converted by Elliot Haydon.

Cobham reduced the deficit with a long-range wind-assisted penalty for 7-3.

Enjoying the lion’s share of possession Chichester were looking dangerous with ball in hand. A pass from Sam Trodd found Matt McLagan out wide and what seemed a certain try was called back by the referee for being forward.

After 17 minutes Cobham gave away a penalty 30m from the posts. Despite the wind Haydon elected to kick and stroked it through the posts for a 10-3 lead.

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester in action v Cobham / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Blues continued to press and just before the half hour were awarded a penalty in the Cobham half, which was kicked to the corner for a lineout.

From the resulting driving maul Harry Seaman, playing his 100th first XV game for the club, was on hand to dot down by the corner flag.

From the touchline Haydon’s conversion kick grazed the inside of the post on its way through for the extra two points, 17-3.

As the first half came to an end the visitors reduced the deficit with two further penalty kicks and it was 17-9 at the break.

Blues had dominated the first half playing into the driving rain, and the Chichester faithful were looking forward to seeing them extend their lead with the wind at their backs.

With six minutes on the clock Haydon slotted another penalty to increase Chichester’s lead to 20-9. However, Cobham weren’t going to roll over and had kicked two penalties before the referee produced a yellow card in the 61st minute.

Despite having a man advantage it took Chichester nearly ten minutes to increase the score with a third successful penalty kick for Haydon to make it 23-15 and ten minutes to play.

With two minutes left the referee produced yellow again and reduced Chichester to 14 players. Within 60 seconds Cobham had run the ball to the other end of the pitch and crossed the whitewash out wide. Conversion missed, 23-20.

Both teams should be congratulated for their efforts in extremely challenging conditions. The win lifts Chichester above Cobham into seventh place.

Supporters’ MoM was Joe Woods.

Chichester: Deavall, W Norton, Woods, Lindsay, Conoly, Spriggs, Wallace, Johnson, Seaman, Baker, McLagan, Haydon, Blewitt, Ellaby, Trodd, Drayson, Taylor, Robson.

Chi have no game this weekend but on Saturday, November 9 they travel to Rochester and take on promotion-seeking Medway (2.30pm).