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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 7 Oct 15:00 - London & SE Division - London 1 South Full time

Gravesend miss out on losing bonus point after defeat to Chichester

After a disappointing trip down to Brighton last week, Gravesend were hoping to put things right on Saturday against Chichester. Although there were many positives to reflect on after the game, it was, unfortunately, another defeat that ended 21-40

Gravesend started well and worked a solid attack up to their opponent’s 22-metre line but were soon under pressure after Chichester won a turnover and worked an attack of their own. It was their flanker, Arron Davies who drew first blood after the away team found a gap just over the 22-metre line. Number 10 Henry Anscombe converted the try and Chichester were 0-7 up after five minutes played. An early lack of discipline from Gravesend cost them a second try after they were penalised for holding on. Chris Johnson peeled off the back of a scrum a crossed over the line. Anscombe added another two points again. Gravesend soon got on the scoreboard after they started to find gaps in their oppositions defence with runs from Temi Okenla and Charlie Cutting. G’s were awarded a penalty of their own and opted for touch which allowed them to put Chichester under pressure with a solid driving maul from the forwards who found the try line. Rhys Betts converted the score making it 7-14. This didn’t bother the away team too much who managed to score three more tries during the first half increasing their lead to 7-33. Despite the scoresline, Gravesend were working hard, especially in the forward pack who were winning turnovers and lineouts against the visitors. The first team were looking much stronger towards the end of the half with a powerful driving maul and a strong scrum which won them a penalty. Chichester found themselves under a bit of pressure as the half came to a close, forcing them to fumble the ball. This gave Ziggy Stevens a chance to run down the wing and pop it to Gary Brett who got under the posts. Betts converted as the half ended 14-33.

Gravesend dominated early in the second half in all areas of the pitch. Their defence was solid and the forwards created another excellent driving maul pushing their opposition back 15 metres. It wasn’t looking like Gravesend’s day however as the ball was unfortunately knocked on and so was another good attacking chance soon after. As the game approached the final quarter, Chichester made it 14-40 after their winger Nat Jackson found a gap in the defence and put it down under the posts. Gravesend’s best phase of play came after they were awarded a lineout on Chichester’s 10-metre line. This led to another strong driving maul which gave Brad Smith the chance to use his legs and pass it out wide to Betts who crossed over in the corner. The fullback was able to convert his own try and close the gap to 21-40. This got the home team’s spirits up who started to execute some excellent phases of play but fell short on each occasion and finished the game at 21-40.
Head coach Chris Wilkins reflected positively on his side’s performance. He said: “We fought all the way to the end and we were more mentally resilient than last week.”
“I was disappointed with the first half but I thought we controlled the game much better in the second. Unfortunately, our accuracy let us down.”
After falling short of a losing bonus point, Wilkins added: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of the game at all but I thought the effort of the boys was good.”
Looking ahead to the first team’s next fixture in Maidstone, the head coach admitted that “a week off will do us some good and we’ve got to fight for every single point we can get.”

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# Team Pl Pts
8. London Cornish 26 61
9. Sevenoaks 26 57
10. Chobham 26 54
11. Thurrock 26 49
12. Old Colfeians 26 43
13. Maidstone 26 33
14. Gravesend 26 26

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