Chichester fully deserved a bonus-point 36-10 win over Eton Manor but it was not as easy as it sounds.
They scored six good tries but they had to defend and tackle hard on several occasions. The men from Wanstead are struggling after promotion into National three London south east but they had their fair share of possession and territory.
The big difference was in firepower,especially in the backs. The Blues stay in eighth place with 14 points from six games.
Kieran Richter was at hooker, Jack Maslen at outside centre, Phil Veltom and Richard Adams joning Aaron Davies on the bench.
Manor kicked off in excellent conditions. They gave Chi some early problems in the scrum but things settled down and the Chi backs attacked.
After a close-range ruck flanker Peni Naiyaga was just short with his pick and dive at the posts. A knock-on followed and Manor cleared well.
The backs probed and Adams switched direction and sent a long pass to Johnson, who was surprisingly near the right wing. No-one was going to prevent the big captain from grabbing his second try.
Danny Gray put a penalty into the left corner, Naiyaga delivered from the lineout and Tom Belcher went over from the maul. Gray kicked the first of his conversions.
Chi were guilty of a crooked lineout and also lost the ball in midfield and Manor’s blindside flanker ran hard and was only stopped by a crunching cover tackle by Chris Johnson, who tracked him from across field.
The visitors won two penalties, the second kicked by their busy fly half, to make it 7-3.
Gray broke clear and drew the full-back, passing to Johnson, who fell to ground two feet short of the posts. Left winger Paddy MacEnri made good ground along the touch. Lock Martin O’Callaghan picked up and drove strongly, handing on to Phil Dickin to cut inside and score in style – the try was converted.
Manor forced another penalty and their backs handled well across the pitch but tackles kept them out at five metres and it was 14-3 at half-time.
The replacements came on and Chi surged on the attack.
Dickin, Maslen and Adams combined to get the ball whizzing to the right wing where Dean Bonds seemed to score but it was disallowed for foot in touch. They were held up at Vultures’ Corner but went again and scrum-half Lester Pollard produced a deft grubber kick for Maslen to win the race to the corner and touch down.
Manor defended stoutly but received a yellow card. Chi took quick advantage with a tap penalty and passing to give Johnson the chance to muscle across the line for the bonus-earning fourth try.
Next the ball was received by a super-charged Maslen who sent a clever kick over the last defender and followed up to score the try of the match which was also converted. He would have claimed a hat-trick with another sprint but had to slow 15 metres out with a tightened hamstring. He retired from the action to hearty applause from supporters for his efforts.
Manor had endured a bad spell but came back with spirit. Their pack strained to get a try and the fly-half perked up the back line but they were not quite fast enough and failed to penetrate.
Chi lost Naiyaga for what may have been a late tackle and Manor hammered at the Chi line for several minutes. The Chi covering was good but five-metre scrums and one man down took their toll. Irritation started on both sides, not helped by the Manor scru- half who persisted on advising the referee about scrum laws.
Manor finally gained a deserved consolation try from a drive maul into the right corner whch was very well converted by the fly-half to bring it to 31-10.
Chi still had more to offer. The backs probed and Adams switched direction and sent a long pass to Johnson, who was surprisingly near the right wing. No-one was going to prevent the big captain from grabbing his second try.
Manor refused to lie down and tried a last attempt in injury time. Tom Polhill was given a yellow card for a ruck offence and the penalty count mounted. Belcher and Davies finally brought the ball away to the 22.
The Blues have a rest this Saturday, then travel to Wimbledon on October 24 to play a strong squad who nearly beat second-placed London Irish Wildgeese. All support welcome for a 2pm kick-off.
CHICHESTER: Vadei, Richter, Belcher, Dickin, O’Callaghan, B Polhill, Naiyaga, Johnson, Pollard, Gray, Bonds, T Polhill, Maslen, MacEnri, Golds, Veltom, Davies, Adams.
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