Chichester made it four wins in a row to move into a healthy mid-table position in London one south as they won 30-9 at Cobham.
Chichester were good value for their important second away win of the season. They played with confidence and their scrum guaranteed lots of possession.
The front row men were outstanding and the Blues were able to punch regular holes in a retreating home defence. The margin was four tries, two conversions and two penalties to three penalties.
There were four changes to the side that beat Hove at Oaklands Park. Ben Polhill came into the pack, with Matt McLagan returning in the backs. Ben Robson, back from long-term injury, and new signing Josh Terry were on the bench. Henry Anscombe captained.
Chichester travelled up the A3 to Cobham full of confidence, and torrential rain had cleared up a couple of hours before kick-off.
Blues kicked off into the wind and immediately conceded a penalty. The kick to touch didn’t leave the Cobham half and from the lineout Chi surged forward.
A probing kick into the Cobham 22 from Anscombe, was chased down by Matt McLagan. A clearance was sliced and from the lineout the ball was caught by Ed Bowden and passed across the backs. After powerful runs from Chris Johnson, Sam Drayson, Josh Cameron and Joe Woods, Chichester were penalised.
Cobham conceded two penalties in quick succession and Chichester had a lineout on the five-metre line. The ball was caught by Bowden and from the back of the driving maul Harry Seaman darted across the line to touch down in the corner. The conversion from Charlie Norton fell just short.
At a scrum Blues drove Cobham backwards, with Tyrese Makasi picking up and darting forward. A knock-on ended the attack.
After 25 minutes, Blues were penalised for not releasing and Cobham slotted the kick from 25m. Soon powerful running from Johnson moved the ball up the pitch and Cobham were penalised for an infringement, Norton kicking the penalty for an 8-3 lead.
Straight from the restart Blues were penalised for not releasing the ball and Cobham slotted their second penalty. And with three minutes left in the half Chichester were penalised again, gifting Cobham an easy kick, 22m out – 9-8.
Then it was Cobham’s turn infringe, providing Norton with a straightforward kick in, so Chi led 11-9 at the break.
The second half was nip and tuck for a while with neither team able to string many passes together.
Finally, after a period of possession in the opposition 22, going through the phases, new boy Terry surged forward making 15m before being stopped just short of the line. The ball was recycled to Anscombe for a pass to Sam Renwick, who ghosted through for a try out wide – 16-9.Drayson, Cameron and Terry, supported by Polhill and Makasi, were moving the ball forward well and Chichester were soon back in the Cobham 22.
Polhill crossed the try line but the referee deemed it held up.
From the five-metre scrum the ball went to Thompson, whose delicate cross-field kick bounced for Robson to collect at pace and dot down in the corner. Norton converted for a 23-9 lead.
Chichester found themselves pinned in their 22 for the next eight minutes defending, with Woods and Baz Magda putting in try-saving tackles. The penalty count was rising and the referee produced yellow and Blues were down to 14 men.
Cobham were unable to make their advantage count and when the Blues returned to 15 they sought a fourth try.
With time running out Cobham were penalised and Blues opted for the scrum. Seamen picked up, pirouetted past his opposite number and passed to Renwick, who outstripped the defence for the bonus-point try in the corner. Another exceptional Norton conversion followed.
Supporters’ man of the match was Josh Cameron.
Chichester: Drayson, Cameron, Woods, Bowden, Magda, Makasi, Polhill, Johnson, Seaman, Anscombe (Captain), McLagan, Thompson, Renwick, Golds, Norton, Terry, Robson.
* Chi host Sevenoaks at Oaklands Park on Saturday (2pm) – all support welcome. Sevenoaks have only lost two games and are in third place. A huge challenge awaits.