Chichester RFC’s colts are through to the regonal final of the national colts plate competition after winning a tough encounter 12-8 at Dorking.
The Blues were missing several key players– influential skipper Joe Stirrup one of them.
Dorking, in red and white, kicked off against the very strong crosswind and immediately the Blues carried hard thanks to Russ Watmore and Jack Rugman.
Chi’s lineout worked well and the forwards swarmed forward – the home side could not hault the juggernaut with Joe Brereton on hand to get the early score with less than ten minutes gone. Tom Adlington hit a great strike from wide but the conversion just missed.
Seb Cross was sniping close to the ruck and Tom Grace using the wind well with intelligent kicks. The home side regrouped with their dangerous No13 getting over the gain line.
Emille Crosby-Wilshire led the tackle count, backed up by a bone-shuddering hit from Greg Firth as they manned the barricades.
Charlie Constable in the back row robbed well in the tackle and Adlington was everywhere but the Blues were picking up penalities until the yellow card came.
Dorking’s big second-row surged over for a home score that made it 5-5 and a penalty meant Chi turned around 8-5 down.
Chi pulled together. Moving the ball was difficult but Tom Ellis, now on at No9, moved the ball well and Dan Patterson got on the outside once or twice but passing was very difficult into the strong wind.
James Fitzmaurice was having a storming game – dominating the lineout and putting in several crunching tackles. Will Prior came more into the match with his power.
A fantastic catch and drive was thwarted by a side entry with the line just a metre away. A yellow card was shown to the offending player but it was just a penalty, not a penalty try.
The Blues were not to be denied and they attacked hard. Constable hit a fantastic line to breach the red defence and sent Rugman bulldozing to within two metres of the try line.
After two more phases Adlington twisted and reached over for the deserved score. He slotted the not-easy conversion for a 12-8 lead.
The Blues needed every player to defend as Dorking raised one last push.
Paul Colley, Chi’s director of rugby, said: “This was a very difficult game with the wind making passing very challenging but as a team we dug deep.
“Our pack were tremendous and gave us the edge. The backs were hampered going forward but to a man put their bodies on the line in defence. It was a great team effort.”
MoM was Fitzmaurice, closely followed by Crosby-Wilshire.
This Sunday, Chichester face Pulborough in a league and cup double header including the Sussex Cup quarter-final.
All support welcome for a 2pm kick-off.
CHI: Prior, Brereton, Rugman, Firth, Fitzmaurice, Crosby-Wilshire, Adlington, Watmore, Cross, Grace, Seehawong, Mendoza, Patterson, Spreckley, Gallimore. Reps: Delacy, Munroe, Odling-Thomas, Constable, Scott, Ellis, Baxter.
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