On a very wet Sussex Day Cam claim their third victory at Chichester
So today the 1s and 2s travelled to Chichester for round 4 of their League programmes although with the steady rain turning the cathedral spire misty and with the opposition clearly motivated to get their season on the road, the omens were not fantastic and with 6 changes from the previous games this one was certainly difficult to call and so we saw Matty make his debut at 9, Tractor Boy Petch making his first start of the season along with Dave Moore in the front row the side had a much changed look. However despite the poor conditions and significant penalty count against them they stuck at the job and eventually were pretty comfortable winners and with the 2s winning on the adjacent pitch 26-0 it was another brilliant ay for CRFC.
Clearly the conditions made free flowing rugby much more of a challenge and after early mistakes from both sides the home side converted a penalty after about 15 mins and they followed this with an unconverted try with 20 mins on the clock. Although Cam were already winning the battle at scrum time they had not capitalised on this and in fact were constantly being penalised whenever they entered the red zone but a series of scrums close to the line eventually saw Josh Wright pounce on the ball and force his way over and with Smarty converting the score was 8-7 after 28 mins. By this time Cam were starting to look the better side but too many mistakes and penalties prevented any further score until on the stroke of half time a great lineout drive saw Dyl emerge from the bottom of the heap with the ball and with Smarty adding the extras the score moved to 8-14 at the break. The home side were the first on the board after the break when a chip ahead was not cleared and they dotted down but Cam were definitely on the front foot and despite their considerable issues with the official we saw a beautiful piece of rugby when first Hasty (I used to be a winger) raced 30m deep into the opposition half and then a beautiful miss pass by Smarty put Dyl through a huge hole in the Chichester defence and the hooker drew the final defender to allow Oyoni to swallow dive over for an excellent score and with the extras the score had moved to 13-21 with 55 on the clock. Unfortunately the official then produced a team yellow for persistent offside which to the travelling supporters at least seemed a bit rich as the home side had taken a metre or 2 at every ruck throughout the game with almost total impunity and to their credit Chichester exploited the lack of numbers with a clever crossfield chip which allowed their winger to dot down in the corner and make the score 18-21 after 64 mins. Perhaps it was the perceived injustice of the yellow card which inspired the black and ambers but they proceeded to move play down to the Chichester red zone and completely mullered the home 8 in a series of 5m scrums which eventually produced a great pushover try from Mac moving the score to 18-26 with just about 5 mins left and a belated yellow for the home side. The the home side was awarded yet another pen almost from the restart and they opted for shot at goal and a LBP but the kick ended up closer to the corner flag than the posts and immediately Cam surged down to the Chichester 22 where prop Greg forced his way over in time added on and with young Smarty rubbing salt into the wound by landing another kick from wide out the black and ambers had yet again managed to overcome all of the obstacles thrown at them to record a well earned victory and enjoy a noisy coach trip home. This game in truth was yet another in the maturing process for this young side who still suffer from too many over optimistic offloads, an inability to maintain the physicality and intensity for longer periods in a game and also not being able adjust to the varying views of officials. However this whole journey becomes more exciting each week and clearly huge progress has been made by the squad in the short time since our visit to Brighton on Sept 1st. Again it was a great showing by the forwards who were made to work hard but their tackling and clearing out was excellent and the scrum did really well and although missing Hughsey and Nick through injury they were clearly the victors in what was another tough 80 mins for them. With the role of the scrum half being so pivotal to the team it was always going to be challenge for Matty on his debut at 9 but despite the added challenge of the rain coming down for the entire 80 mins he produced an excellent display and looks to becoming a strong competitor to Dunny and Tom Young for the shirt as he has more opportunities to understand the processes and adjusts to the pace and physicality of 1s rugby. The rest of the backs were a tad quieter than in recent weeks with the forwards picking up 3 of the 5 tries today but even in the wet supporters hearts quicken in anticipation every time Smarty decides to let this outstanding group of players off the leash. The 2s, despite losing talisman Benny in the first 5 mins claimed another good win 26-0 and with 4 tries earned a bonus point for what was a very successful visit to Sussex. Next week the 1s continue their League games at home to Thurrock while the 2s play Guildford away.
And Finally - the C&Ws are at Sorries tomorrow for what is probably their toughest gig of the season but with both sides still unbeaten it should provide a real view on how far we have come this season to date.