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Chichester battle so hard not to get blown away as Cobham claim win

Chichester lost 29-18 at in-form Cobham in London One South on their 4G pitch.


Chichester made nine changes to the team that beat HAC by a single point, in a low scoring game, last time out.


Pete Farrow, Joe Woods and Charlie Wallace came into the pack, Harry Seaman, Tom Knight and Tim Cook returned in the backs while Richard Ives, Jack Knight and Kyle Armstrong were on the bench.


In persistent rain, and with a gusting wind blowing down the pitch, Cobham kicked off with the breeze behind them.


It was Chichester who were first on the scoreboard, with a Tom Blewitt penalty from 30 metres after a Cobham infringement.


Blues doubled the score on 12 minutes with a second Blewitt penalty.


Despite playing into the wind, Chichester enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and a quarter-of-an-hour had gone before the home side crossed the half way line with the ball.


On 18 minutes it was Blues’ turn to infringe and, with wind assistance, Cobham closed the gap to 6-3 with a penalty.


A Cobham infringement allowed Blues to kick for touch in the corner and from the lineout on the five-metre line the forwards inched the ball forward with a series of pick and goes.


Gareth Davies deftly chipped a ball over the defence but it was a Cobham hand that applied the downward pressure in the ensuing scramble for a 22-metre dropout.


On the half-hour mark, the home side levelled the scores with their second penalty kick. And three minutes later a well-timed pass on halfway split the Chi defence and Cobham were through for a converted try to go 13-6 ahead.


With a couple of minutes left in the first half the referee produced a yellow card and Blues were down to 14 men.


Cobham increased their lead by three more points with a successful penalty.


In the dying moments, Chichester moved the ball out wide through Seaman, Wallace, Farrow and Nick Blount but Davies was forced into touch just short from Blount’s long pass as Chi trailed 16-6 at the break.


The small contingent of Blues fans were pleased with the first-half performance, which had seen Chichester dominate for significant periods in challenging conditions.


Despite being a man short, Chichester repelled all opposition advances, at the start of the second half.


And 11 minutes into the second half the referee produced the yellow card again, this time reducing Cobham to 14 players.


With the numerical advantage Blues advanced into the opposition red zone and won a penalty which was kicked to the corner. From the lineout Chichester’s pack moved the ball forward with a series of pick and goes but it was Rhys Thompson who darted over the line to touch down.


The referee disallowed the try and took play back for an earlier infringement.


Blues opted for the five-metre scrum and drove Cobham back over the try line, allowing Baz Magda to dot down. The conversion was missed but the gap had been closed to 16-11 with 61 minutes gone.


Cobham increased their lead to 19-11 with a penalty four minutes later and started to stamp their authority on the game. Their wingers and full-back were up quickly, seemingly winning every lofted ball, while the fly half screwed low balls in to touch keeping Blues penned in their own half. With less than ten minutes left Cobham increased their lead to 22-11 but Chichester were not ready to concede defeat.


Blues pressure resulted in another penalty, kicked to a corner for a lineout. Blount secured the ball and the pack drove for the line before being stopped illegally.


The referee signalled a penalty try and produced a yellow card, reducing the opposition to 14 players for the second time in the match.


With the score poised at 22-18, Chi had hopes of snatching a win in the final three minutes.


But from the restart Chi conceded a penalty eight metres from their try line and were caught out by a quick tap by the scrum half who dotted down. An excellent conversion from out wide into the wind seal their 29-18 win.


Man of the match was Materati Waqanisau.


Chichester’s next match is tomorrow when they welcome Medway to Oaklands Park (2.30pm KO).


Chichester squad: Deavall, Farrow, Woods, Magda, Blount, Wallace (capt.) Makasi, Waqanisau, Seaman, Davies, T. Knight, Thompson, Blewitt, Rowland, Cook, Ives, J. Knight and Armstrong.

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