Rugby: Shelf stack up points to get better of Blues
Chichester finally lost their National three London south east clash at Shelford 31-27 in the ninth minute of added time, the last play having continued for four minutes until Shelford dived across for the winning try.
Chi had built a half-time lead of 22-10 but their indiscipline and poor lineouts allowed the hosts to dominate the second 40 minutes.
The referee was very focused on the letter of the laws and Blues should have understood and not conceded 19 penalties and three yellow cards.
However, they were without five regular players, including lineout jumpers, and the backs did score four excellent tries.The team defended stoutly as Shelford battered the try line until the sad end.
Overall it was a reasonable effort after a long journey and two bonus points were hard-earned. It was exciting at times but spoilt by the continual stoppages and niggling exchanges.
It was the Blues’ first visit to a very pleasant ground. They kicked off in sunshine on a flat and firm pitch. Full-back Alex Marsh sliced through from within his 22 and sprinted before kicking on – before being forced out near the right corner.
Chris Johnson and the backs drove hard to the line but were held up. From the scrum, Henry Adams shipped the ball to Richard Adams, who quickly passed to centre Rhys Thompson to score near the posts. It was converted by Anscombe.
Outside centre Jack Maslen took a pass and made a clean break. He swerved past tackles and a timely offload sent stylish Tom Jackson on his way to score on the left wing. Conversion missed.
The Chi lineout was misfiring and prop Phil Veltom twice retrieved the ball at the rear. Two penalties later, the Shelford fly-half slotted three points.
Harry Seaman had made ground on the right when Chi were turned over and Shelford attacked from halfway. Good hands and a badly missed tackle gave them their first try across on the left and dot down around the posts. It was converted.
Anscombe kicked a penalty for offside but Thompson was sinbinned for going offside on his 22, the referee apparently saying it was the third infringement by Chi for the same reason.
Seaman robbed the ball and a quick feed to Maslen saw him evade tackles to run behind the posts for another super try. Anscombe converted.
A man down, Chi were stretched and Marsh was given a yellow card for what may have been a deliberate knock-on to stop a pass to the wing. But the whistle blew a minute later for half time and Chi led 22-10. Chi faced a further period with 14 players.
Shelford attacked but a forward was yellow-carded for a late tackle on Adams, who had caught the ball and cleared.
Marius Greyvensteyn, Sean Shepherd and Maslen tackled firmly and Jackson had another good run. Johnson was a tower of strength but had to leave the pitch after a knock.
Marsh came back on from the bin. Two penalties conceded for not binding at a scrum and not retreating when ahead of a kicker produced three scrums. Chi won the first, Shelf the second and there was a reset at the third.
Chi wheeled around and very strong tighthead Joe Woods was shocked to see a yellow card waved at him. From then on it was downhill for Blues.
While Chi had 14 men, Shelf ran in two tries despite tackles by the hard-pressd defence. Both were converted.
Woods came back and Chi kicked to the right touch.A lineout was won for the first time, the ball spun to Thompson who soared across for the bonus point fourth try. The conversion was badly missed from in front but it was 27-24.
Shelf went for broke. Lineouts gave bags of possession and forwards and backs hurled themselves at the all-tackling Chi rearguard for what seemed like eternity.
The hosts seemed to have been held up over the line following a five-metre scrum but the referee brought them back to the same position for another Shelf scrum. This time the drive went over the line and a Shelf man pressed down for a try which was converted.
This Saturday Chi play Hertford at Oaklands Park – all support welcome at this last home game (3pm).
CHICHESTER: Greyvensteyn, Shepherd, Veltom, Lindsay, Farmer, Giddings, Grace, Johnson, Anscombe, Adams, Jackson, Thompson, Maslen, Seaman, Marsh, Woods, Khemish, MacEnri.
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