Dominant Chichester see off Guildford … Bognor pay price for poor half as Gosport and Fareham win

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Chichester RFC enjoyed a dominant performance and home win over Guildford – but Bognor paid the price for a poor half when they hosted Gosport and Fareham. Reports below...

Chichester 27 Guildford 14

Regional 2 South Central

After a month away, Chichester returned to Oaklands Park and enjoyed victory over Guildford with a dominant team performance.

Luca Fleming with the ball as Chichester overcome Guildford | Picture: Michael ClaydenLuca Fleming with the ball as Chichester overcome Guildford | Picture: Michael Clayden
Luca Fleming with the ball as Chichester overcome Guildford | Picture: Michael Clayden

Blues made four changes, with Ethan Carpenter and Owen Tucker coming into the pack while Fin West and Jack Swain joined the backs.

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With the pitch in excellent condition, a cool, windless and sunny afternoon provided perfect conditions for rugby, watched by a large crowd.

Guildford kicked off up the slope and after only four minutes, Chichester were forced to reorganise their back line when Gareth Davies ent off with an ankle injury.

Blues enjoyed early possession probing the visitors’ defence and after 15 minutes, they were awarded a penalty 26m out. Joel Andrews stepped up to convert the kick, 3-0.

MoM Jamie Foote in Bognor action v Gosport & Fareham | Picture: Vicky WellerMoM Jamie Foote in Bognor action v Gosport & Fareham | Picture: Vicky Weller
MoM Jamie Foote in Bognor action v Gosport & Fareham | Picture: Vicky Weller

On 27 minutes a Guilford player was sent to the sinbin and, with the numerical advantage, Chichester again pressed forward forcing the visitors back in to the red zone.

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Blues thought they’d scored but the ball was deemed to have been held up. However, from the drop-out they were back on the visitors’ try line trying to force their way over with a series of pick and goes.

A knock-on resulted in a 5m scrum from which Josh Stops retrieved the ball and offloaded to Rhys Thompson, who spun clear of the defenders to dot down out wide. Conversion missed, 8-0.

Having dominated play, Blues dropped their guard momentarily and Guildford scored in the corner. An excellent conversion from the touchline meant the half ended 8-7.

The second half started with Blues again pinning the visitors in the red zone. On 48 minutes Dan Heriot bought the ball down majestically and the Chichester pack mauled towards the try line before Thompson and Andrews joined to provide extra grunt that saw the ball carried over by Thompson for his second – 13-7.

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After nearly 20 minutes Guildford made their first foray into Blues’ territory and won a lineout penalty 15m from the Chichester try line.

The ball was worked across the field in a series of pick and goes before a crash ball breached Blues’ defence. Converted, 13-14.

Chichester steadied the ship and again started probing the Guildford defence.

From a penalty on halfway, Stops found touch six metres out and Blues reprised their second try with a rolling maul from the lineout, with backs’ assistance, which saw Ethan Carpenter dot down. Converted by Andrews, 20-14.

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Blues were straight back on the attack, looking for a bonus point try. A penalty gave Chichester a lineout on the 5m line which was lost but the ball was recovered by quick-thinking Stops. It was spun out to Jay Manly who charged through the scrambling defence and mauled over for the bonus point try, converted by Andrews.

MoM: Luca Fleming.

Chichester visit London Irish on Saturday (2pm).

Hampshire Counties 1

After a couple of fine performances, Bognor were looking forward with quiet confidence to hosting third-placed Gosport & Fareham at Hampshire Avenue.

But despite coming back from 12-0 down to equal the scores at half-time, Bognor went on to produce their worst 40 minutes of the season.

Bognor started well enough when Tyrone Makasi ran over the top of his opposite number to create quick attacking ruck ball. But this was followed by the first of countless penalties against the home side given for offences including high tackles, breakdown infringements, offside, and back-chat to the referee.

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As well as it being impossible to build any sort of momentum, it also presented the huge visitors’ pack with countless opportunities to kick for the corner and execute well-rehearsed driving lineouts.

Gosport’s first try came after six minutes when their centre intercepted the ball in midfield and sprinted 60m to touch down. Four minutes later Bognor were 12-0 down as the visitors’ pack drove over for the first of three tries from 5m lineouts.

Bognor hit back when Jeremy Newton-Young finished a good attacking move by breaking through the middle and scoring under the posts. Bradley Caparo converted to narrow the gap and a few minutes later, Bognor were unfortunate not to be awarded another try when the referee was unsighted after what seemed a legitimate grounding.

Bognor spilt the ball in midfield and the visitors hacked it the length of the field, only a last-ditch scramble defence saving Bognor from conceding another long-range try.

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With five minutes to go before half-time Bognor put together a sustained attack in the opposition 22 and Charlie Jays crashed over for his side’s second try.

The visitors’ accomplished fly-half then made a schoolboy error trying to run the ball out of defence, the result being some quick Bognor handling enabling skipper Shane Stevens to canter over in the corner.

Head Coach Karl Flinn felt that, at 17-17, his side’s fitness would pay dividends in the second half and a shock win was a realistic proposition.

But he could only stand and watch as his normally resilient young side crumbled under pressure, creating little but giving away lots, in terms of errors, territory, possession and penalties.

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Within minutes Gosport and Fareham scored their third try from a driving lineout tfor a bonus point.

Bognor’s attempts at building momentum were not helped by two yellow cards and the visitors scored a further two tries.

Bognor were not able to get close to a fourth bonus-point consolation try.

The coaching team knows that, if Bognor are to attain the goal of mid-table respectability, some things will need to change quickly, starting with a reduction of the penalty count to single figures.

This week Bognor travel to Trojans (2pm).