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Chichester leave it late before they make it three of a kind with victory

Chichester made it a hat-trick of wins for the first time in 11 months with a 23-22 victory over London Cornish.

 

Having secured their first away win of the season the previous week, with a late Tom Blewitt penalty, there was much optimism among the Chichester faithful that the team could secure three consecutive wins.

 

Blues made five changes to the side that beat KCS.Zac Conoly and Nick Blount came into the pack, Josh Goodwin and Matt McLagan returned in the backs and Shaun Baker was on the bench.
Chichester, playing down the slope, conceded a penalty inside three minutes but it fell short.

 

Five minutes later Tom Blewitt stroked home a penalty for the first score of the game.

 

Cornish turned up the wick and spent the next 12 minutes probing Chi’s defence. Chichester conceded a number of penalties but held out.

 

A try-saving tackle by Ben Deavall and a couple of wayward final passes delayed Cornish opening their account. Finally, Blues were caught offside and the visitors levelled with a 21st-minute penalty.

 

Two minutes later Cornish stole the ball at a lineout and scored an unconverted try through the right winger. Another Blewitt penalty on 26 minutes made it 6-8. From the restart, Cornish’s outside centre outstripped the Blues’ defence to go over for a converted try.

 

Blues mounted their first sustained attack which resulted in a yellow card for the visitors but, despite the man advantage, Chichester could not breach the well organised Cornish defence.

 

The visitors started the second half strongly but against the run of play a Chichester break on 51 minutes was stopped illegally and the referee produced another yellow card. Once again Blewitt slotted the penalty to reduce the deficit (9-15).

 

Four minutes later Blues lost a man to the sin bin. Cornish kicked for touch and from the lineout drove over for their third try, which was converted.

 

This seemed to spur Chichester on and put the visitors under sustained pressure.

 

Great work from Joe Woods, Zac Conoly and Martin O’Callaghan saw Blues cross the line twice only for the ball to be held up.

 

The visitors lost another player to the sin bin on 73 minutes. The Chi pack crossed the line for a third time and Ben Polhill touched down. Blewitt converted to close the gap to 22-16 to Cornish with five minutes left.

 

In a dramatic finale, prop Conoly won a Blues lineout and his pass found Woods in space. He made 15 metres before passing to Harry Seaman, whose offload found Tyrese Makasi on the touchline.

 

The young hooker beat two defenders to touch down in Vultures Corner. Blewitt converted a difficult kick to put Chi 23-22 up with two minutes left to play.

 

Despite a couple of heart-stopping moments, Chichester closed the match out for their ninth victory of the season and four points.

 

Man of the match was Martin O’Callaghan for an excellent performance as stand-in No.8.

 

Chichester are in Kent against Westcombe Park (2pm KO) tomorrow. The coach leaves Oaklands Park at 10.30am for any supporters wishing to travel with the team.

 

Chichester: Deavall, Makasi, Woods, Conoly, Blount, Polhill, Wallace (C), O’Callaghan, Goodwin, Davies, McLagan, Seaman, Blewitt, Rowland, C. Norton, Drayson, Spriggs, Baker.

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