Combe win a close contest to kick off the new season
By Mark Ley
Westcombe Park RFC 22-15 Chichester RFC
A stiff challenge from Chichester was met resolutely by Westcombe Park
who ran out winners by 7 points. If proof were needed that the lower
league would be as competitive as National 3, this was it.
Chichester were the first to show attacking intent in the opening
exchanges but Combe responded with a charge down by fullback Harrison,
the subsequent attack petering out with a knock on. The first scrum of
the day also provided the Combe crowd with encouragement with the new
front row exerting massive pressure on their opponents.
WPRFC opened the scoring on 10 minutes through a confidently struck
Cameron penalty but Chichester came back strongly, winning a lineout
deep in the Combe half. The visitors secured clean ball and worked it
smoothly through several hands to score close to the posts making the
conversion almost a formality. 7-3 to the visitors.
Combe had had to fundamentally restructure their back line when scrum
half Gilham suffered a dislocated elbow needing hospital treatment.
Cameron moved to scrum half, Harrison to stand off with Owen
Church-Mills making a slightly earlier debut than he anticipated at
Defence rather than attack was the order of the day for Westcombe Park
during a torrid period round the 30 minute mark as Chichester retained
the ball through at least 20 phases. A sigh of relief could almost be
heard around the ground as the visitors coughed up possession with a
knock on. Combe were suffering badly on the penalty count mainly due to
inaccuracies at both offensive and defensive rucks which kept them more
on the back foot than they would have liked.
There were a couple of minutes to go to the break when Combe set up a
solid maul out on the right. Hooker AD Foster broke out and straightened
towards the Chichester line and, with an intelligent offload, put in
Cameron for the score which the latter converted to give Combe the lead
WPRFC 10-7 CFC
Winger Hamilton had been unchracteristcally quiet in attack in the first
period, but immediately after the break he made one of his trademark
runs through the opposition defence. He was finally tackled but quick
recycling gave flanker Nik Pass the opportunity to score close to the
posts providing Cameron a reasonably simple conversion. Combe's lead was
On 46 minutes there was the chance to extend the lead but Cameron's
penalty attempt clipped the post. 5 minutes later Chichester narrowed
the gap with 3 points of their own when Combe were adjudged off their
feet at the ruck and slowing Chichester ball.
There was an immediate response from the home team when Hamilton
combined for the second time to set up the try of the match. Firstly
Saffrey broke the defence, passed to Hamilton who made good yards, fed
Hitchcock who in turn supplied Saffrey for the try to give Combe a 12
There were still 25 minutes of the match remaining and Combe's defence
was getting a good workout. Penalty count against the home side was
mounting as Chichester kept the pressure up and,with just over10 minutes
to go,Chichester managed to squeeze over tight in the left corner to set
home supporters nerves jangling for the closing period.
But that was how it ended and Combe went back to the changing rooms
content with a job executed professionally. So a solid start to the
season but if you asked the Combe support they would probably have taken
that at 3 o'clock.
Final score Westcombe Park RFC 22-15 Chichester RFC
Finally good wishes to Bruce MacKenzie our long standing senior match
reporter who is undergoing a series of medical treatments. We wish you
well, Bruce. Also to Graham Seppings our IT guru who is also going
through a medical procedure.
Westcombe Park RFC: Fernandez, Foster, T.Simmons, Eames, Clarke, Pass,
Milligan, O'Sullivan, Gilham, Cameron, Livett, Hitchcock, Saffrey,
Replacements: J. Simmons, Delderfield, Church-Mills
Combe's man of the match: Matt Harrison
Match Report:John Vallely