Chichester turn on style beat second-placed Camberley
Chichester welcomed promotion-chasing Camberley to Oaklands Park - and chalked up a thrilling victory.
Second in London 1 South and a single point behind Westcombe Park, the visitors had only lost once this season.
The Blues made five changes to the side that lost to Thurrock last time out. Ben Deavall, Martin O’Callaghan, Charlie Wallace and Chris Johnson came into the forwards with Liam Rowland returning in the backs. Chichester kicked off down the slope and made a positive start to the game causing Camberley to concede a couple of early penalties. It took seven minutes for Blues to make the breakthrough, with a great team effort, and score the first try.
The ball went through the hands of Rhys Thompson, Matt McLagan, Sam Trodd, Charlie Wallace to Tyrese Makasi who passed it back to Wallace for an offload to Chris Johnson, who dotted down under the posts, with Tom Blewett converting.
Camberley were looking to run the ball at every opportunity and were making good use of their veteran full back Tom Allen. Several attacks were thwarted in the red zone with robust tackling and turnovers from the Chichester forwards. Finally, the visitor’s backs clicked and the ball arrived in the hands of the speedy winger who outpaced the Blues’ defence to score out wide. Conversion missed. 7-5 and 28 minutes gone. From the restart it was Chichester’s turn to go on the offensive. From a typical Chris Johnson run, the ball was passed out to Liam Rowland, on the overlap, to cross the whitewash in Vultures Corner on 34 minutes. Converted by Blewitt to make it 14-5.
Camberley started the second half looking to wrestle back that control but as the minutes ticked away their plan appeared limited to a kicking game which was snuffed out by the Blues’ backs, who caught everything. After 52 minutes Chichester conceded a penalty 25 metres out and Camberley reduced the deficit. On 70 minutes Johnson burst through the Camberley defence 25 metres out but lost the ball which was recovered by the visitors.
Excellent support from McLagan and Blewitt forced a defender to touch the ball down beyond the try line, after a misdirected pass. From the 5 metre scrum a series of pick and goes inched the ball towards the try line before Harry Seaman darted past the ruck to dot down on the try line. Converted by Blewitt. 21 - 8. The response from Camberley was instantaneous and within 3 minutes they had scored a converted try. 21 - 15 and 10 minutes remaining. What a 10 minutes!
Chichester were reduced to 14 players when the referee produced a yellow card but this didn’t seem to affect them and they forced Camberley to concede a penalty that Blewitt kicked, providing a little breathing space. 24-15. The referee then penalised the visitors again and produced the yellow card reducing them to 14 players. There was a brief discussion on the pitch about a kick to the corner and bonus point try but Blewitt was given the job of kicking the penalty and putting the game out of reach. 27-15 and full time.
This was Chichester’s best performance at Oaklands Park for over 14 months and a great reaction to the poor showing in Essex a week earlier. Supporters' man of the match was Chris Johnson.
Chichester: Deavall, Makasi, Woods, Blount, Conoly, O’Callaghan, Wallace (Capt.), Johnson, Baker, Davies, McLagan, Thompson, Blewitt, Rowland, Trodd and Drayson, Lindsay and Seaman.
Chichester travel to London to play Belsize Park this Saturday (Dec 14, 2pm).