Losing bonus point is Chichester's reward from tight trip to London

Sam Renwick runs in Chi's first try / Picture by Alison Tanner
Sam Renwick runs in Chi's first try / Picture by Alison Tanner

Chichester lost a tight game 16-10 to HAC after travelling to the City of London, skirting protests and demonstrations on the way,

Their hosts were the newly promoted Honourable Artillery Company at their magnificent ground in the heart of the capital.

Blues made six changes to the side that beat Beckenham. Chris Johnson returned in the pack, Sandy Wheatley and Sam Renwick came into the backs with Will Norton, Stewart Ellaby and debutant Cameron Mackenzie-Lawrie on the bench.

An unscheduled 30-minute downpour at the start of the match made playing conditions challenging.

Chichester kicked off towards Armoury House and in the first five minutes both teams had lineouts 10m from the try line but failed to secure the ball in the tricky conditions.

With only four minutes on the clock Blues infringed at the breakdown and the HAC fly-half stroked the ball through the posts from 30m.

The next 17 minutes were played almost exclusively in the visitors’ half with Blues unable to advance up the pitch and HAC giving away a number of penalties.

The Blues’ running game was being stifled by the extremely narrow pitch and the HAC tactic to kick over or through the defence was being countered by the speed of the Chichester defence.

HAC increased the score with a second penalty for an infringement 25m to make it 6-0.

The game ebbed and flowed and finally the sun came out with Zac Conoly making ground on a rare Blues foray into the opposition half. From the ruck

Sandy Wheatley passed to Sam Renwick, who burst through a gap in the HAC defence to dot down inches from the corner flag. Conversion missed.

On the stroke of half-time an HAC interception was run in under the posts and converted, so they led 15-5.

Chichester came out the blocks and immediately had HAC under pressure. A clever grubber kick from Rhys Thompson was inches from being touched down by Matt McLagan and the referee called back McLagan, when he was clean through, for a Blues penalty.

After 18 minutes of the second half, and with a man in the sin-bin, HAC finally crossed into the Blues’ half. After some impressive defence five metres from their line Chichester conceded a penalty, allowing HAC to increase the score with the boot.

Chichester pinned HAC down in the home team’s red zone and threw the kitchen sink at them, but couldn’t find a way through.

With the penalty count rising HAC were shown two further yellow cards in the final ten minutes and played the last three minutes with 13 men.

With the clock on 80 minutes HAC conceded another penalty five metres from the try line. The ball was whipped out to Stewart Ellaby, beyond the depleted defence, for the young winger to touch down out wide. Conversion missed.

A losing bonus point for Chichester did not stop them feeling frustration that their second-half dominance wasn’t converted into points. Chichester drop to eighth place.

Supporters’ MoM was Ben Deavall.

Chichester: Deavall, Makesi, Woods, Spriggs, Conoly, B. Polhill, Wallace (Capt.), Johnson, Wheatley, Baker, McLagan, Thompson, Renwick, Trodd, Seaman, W. Norton, Ellaby, Mackenzie-Lawrie.

On Saturday Chichester entertain Cobham at Oaklands Park (3pm).