By Andrew Hatch
Thriller in Chichester
The final score suggests that this was a game of touch rugby with the teams sharing 13 tries between them. It was however a full blooded game with huge physical commitment form both sides.
This was a game that showed the best of Vectis, mixed in with some of the traits that have seen them lose close matches recently. The worst of Vectis was seen in the first ten minutes when Chichester ran in three easy tries whilst Vectis were struggling to overcome the short journey from Portsmouth. The first try came straight from the kick off when the ball was lost and an unguarded ruck meant that the outstanding Chichester 7 had a stroll to the line. Two tries followed fairly quickly thereafter as Chichester moved turn over ball wide, and Vectis were 19-0 down and looking at a huge defeat.
At that point Emile Bleriot and Ryan Fu took it upon themselves to lift their sides physicality and supported by the rest of the pack Vectis began to get on top. At a 5 m line out Ryan Fu was held up over the line, and from the resulting scrum Rory Taylor scored from close range, converting his own try. Tom Branagh then broke through and scored with the conversion being scored by Rory Taylor.
The Vectis pack were on top at this stage and in scrums, mauls and rucks Chichester were going backwards, which meant that their dangerous backs were taken out of the game. Further pressure led to a try from Ryan Fu and somehow the teams turned around at half time at 19-19, much to the delight of the noisy travelling support.
A lack of concentration at the beginning of the second half let Chichester in for another score but shortly after top class no 8 play from Freddie Newton put Jesse Butchers into space and he raced away to score under the posts, with Rory Taylor knocking over the conversion. Another lack of concentration in defence followed after a long kick into the opposition 22 by William Hatch was fielded by their full back and he managed to avoid several tackles and score at the other end.
Vectis refused to buckle and Lewis Howard found himself at the bottom of a maul to score as the pack drove him over the line from a metre out. A difficult conversion was missed but Vectis were drawing closer. Chichester however then had a period of pressure on the Vectis line and scored twice to take the game out of reach. The last minute of the match seemed to last for about 5 and in that time man of the match Ryan Fu bagged his second score. As in the game at Winchester there were opportunities to score with players unmarked 10 m from the opposition line being ignored, but the reality was that the slow start meant that it was always an uphill challenge. That was a challenge that every player rose to and they can all be very proud of their efforts, but they had left themselves too much to do.
Tries; Taylor;Branagh; Fu (2);Howard;Butchers. Conversions;Taylor 4.