Chichester Colts won a thrilling derby with Worthing 16-10 in their first league game of the season – an eagerly-anticipated re-match of the county cup final a few months ago.
On that occasion Chichester lost a very tight game - here they made up for it.
Chi have had decent start to the season with two friendly victories and a good win in the National Cup.
The yellow shirts of Worthing set off at real pace, looking to move the ball at every opportunity, and the Blues didn’t help themselves with small errors.
After weathering the initial storm the home side started to find territory – but every time they got into a good position they made errors.
The lineout wasn’t functioning and after 20 minutes Worthing were on the attack out wide. Mis-communication gave the Worthing left winger acres of space to scorch down the wing for a good score followed by a well-struck conversion.
As the half wore on, the Blues were starting to find their structures and hunger – Cam Moore moved to hooker and stole two great balls in the contact zone and Will Prior was a colossus in the tackle zone, winning three penalty turnovers. Two were excellently converted by Ned Renwick to make it 7-6.
A nasty-looking neck injury to Harry Raynor led to the match being moved to the next pitch. Raynor went to hospital but was discharged later with heavy whiplash.
Good carries from Sam Henshall and Tyrese Makasi made inroads for Chi and more physical defence forced Worthing into mistakes.
TheBblues looked to up the pace but a run of penalties against the home side gave the advantage back to Worthing. A penalty meant they led 10-6.
Chi were really starting to click with Goodwin on at No9 and Renwick up to No10 and they started to gain better territory.
Alex Baxter was having a tremendous game with thumping defensive tackles and in attack he was like a runaway train.
After some powerful drives were repelled, the home team kicked to the corner from a penalty and set up a perfect drive – and with three of the backs coming in they surged over to score. Renwick from wide out calmly slotted the extras for a 13-10 lead.
The Blues were highly motivated and held well, forcing another couple of penalties. Renwick slotted one to take it to 16-10.
Every Chi player played for each other and with lots of injuries and changes required they were all needed – the response to such an intense game was magnificent.
Pony Moore, head coach, said: “We made lots of mistakes so there’s plenty to work on – but this was a great team effort.”
Men of the match were Baxter and Harry Coppin, closely followed by Makasi and Prior.
Chichester: Prior, Odling-Thomas, Montaque, Coppin, Delaisse, Raynor, Moore, Henshall, Ellis, Martin, Baxter, Margarson, Norton, Renwick, Watts, Dawtry, Makasi, Wale, Goodwin, Seehawong, Bonar.
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