Chichester gained another important win with one of their best performances of recent seasons, running out 42-21 winners at Dartford.
Everything clicked in the first half, when they went 30-7 up, half those points coming from vice-captain Henry Anscombe.
Darts fought back and Chi were worried at 30-21, but they finished well with two more fine tries. As in the win at Havant a week earlier, the Blues were highly motivated
Chichester made the long journey to Kent buoyed by the bonus-point win at Havant and made four changes. Josh Cameron and Callum Gibson came into the pack, with Baz Magda and Anzac debutant Shaun Baker on the bench.
There was a gusting wind and intermittent showers and Chichester kicked off down the slope with the wind at their backs. The blue wall advanced down the field and kept Dartfordians contained in the opposition red zone.
The referee signalled a free ball and Anscombe’s drop-goal attempt went just wide, but the subsequent penalty kick didn’t.
Dartfordians’ attempts to advance were halted by handling errors, but finally an interception on the halfway line gifted them a try. It was converted and they led 7-3.
For the next ten minutes the Blues looked comfortable containing Dartfordians in the opposition half, Anscombe’s probing kicks repelling forward progress.
Breach in England Six Nations squad
Chichester happy at Havant as double is completed
A yellow card left Dartfordians a man down. With Chichester on the 22m line the referee signalled a free ball and Harry Seaman darted over the line but a try wasn’t awarded. Blues’ opted for a scrum where the infringement occurred and Seaman darted the other way to score, converted from out wide by Anscombe.
Further infringements provided two more penalties for Anscombe to kick to make it 16-7.
From the restart Dartfordians infringed, providing Tom Blewitt the chance to wrongfoot the defence and touch down in the corner. Another conversion from out wide by Anscombe. Soon Toby Golds intercepted on the right wing and ran in Blues’ third try. It was converted and it was 30-7 at half-time.
The small band of Chichester supporters on the sideline were well aware the slope and wind would require a top drawer performance in the second half.
Three minutes into the second half a yellow card reduced Chi to 14 men. They held out for six minutes before conceding a converted try.
Blues dug in and no further points were conceded before they returned to a full complement. However, disaster struck when Chichester were shown a second yellow card after some last-ditch defending on their try line. After three pick and goes Dartfordians crossed the line to score and a conversion meant it was now 30-21.
Despite being a man down Chichester’s blue wall stood firm, even missing a couple of opportunities to score after good work from Chris Johnson and Sam Drayson.
With less than ten minutes left a red card left Dartfordians with 14 men. Blues upped the tempo and in the dying minutes Drayson crossed to secure the important bonus point after good work from Ben Polhill and Ed Bowden.
Chichester weren’t finished and long passes from Baker and Anscombe moved the ball the width of the field to Sam Renwick, whose 30m run cut through the Dartfordians’ defence. An offload to Seaman beat the last defender for a try under the posts which was converted.
This was another excellent team performance with superb kicking from Anscombe, the supporters’ MoM.
Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Woods, Gibson, Bowden, Polhill, Wallace (Capt.), Johnson, Seaman, Anscombe, McLagan, Jenkinson, Renwick, Golds, Blewitt, Gingell, Magda, Baker
Chi have no game this weekend but on February 9 they entertain top side Brighton at Oaklands Park (2.30pm).