Chichester Select XV Edge Out Academy

08 February 2024

19:00 @ Havant RFC

RNRU Academy XV


Chichester RFC

Havant hosted the Navy once again on Thursday night, as the determined Navy Academy took on a very strong Chichester Select XV. The game, which was meant to be played at Chichester, kicked off under what could only be described as extreme torrential rain; hence Havant took the pleasure of hosting the game, with their very professional 4G pitch.

Both teams tried to play expansive rugby but struggled due to the conditions. The errors from both sides resulted in the forwards doing much of the leg work, in what became a very physical, very wet, slug fest.

The start of the game saw Navy Academy in the driver's seat, applying much of the early pressure in the Chichester half. However, strong defence, countless handling errors, and unfortunate kicking throughout the match, led to many pointless visits into the opposition 22. The early success of Chichester’s defence swung the momentum of the game in their favour. Chichester was winning the physical exchanges in the first half, and with their newfound confidence, they started to play some phases of free-flowing rugby, keeping the ball alive through the treacherous conditions.

The first major win for Chichester came in the form of a yellow card for Navy Scrumhalf, Captain Atwood. However, conditions and handling errors kept Chichester away from the try line. After some unsuccessful phases of attack, Chichester got the first points on the board through a penalty kick. 3-0 Chichester.

Chichester, keen to make use of the yellow card, came straight back out of the blocks, and after another 10-minute attacking set in the Navy half, got themselves a lineout just outside the 5-metre line. Making use of the forwards with a driving maul rather than putting the ball through the hands paid off, and Chichester drove over the line for the first try of the match. Unsuccessful kicking continued to haunt the game and left the score 8 - 0 Chichester.

Back to a full 15, and hunting for a try of their own, the Navy Academy fronted up with their forwards. Constant pick and go sets, towards the end of the first half, put Chichester on the back foot. Navy Academy kept the ball safe, and after countless pick and goes, the Chichester defence relented, and opened up for Navy number 8, Cheshire, to score their first try of the game. Half time, 8 - 7 Chichester.

The second half kicked off much like the first, with Navy getting the upper hand early on. However, after a loss of possession, it wasn’t even minutes before Navy Academy found themselves defending in their own 22. Some fancy footwork from the Chichester 11, and a quick turn of pace put him right under the posts for Chichester’s second try. There was no missing this conversion, and Chichester went up 15 - 7.

After this early burst of energy from Chichester, the game hit a wall. Both teams seemed stuck in no-man's land, with no one able to get any position outside of the 10 metre lines. Strong defence and consistent handling errors meant no one was taking control of the game. However, the Navy finally found a way to break through the line, and a couple of strong carries were required for the Navy to dive over the line and bring the game within one point. 15 - 14 Chichester.

Unfortunately for the Navy, the rain stopped just too late and once a dry ball gave the Academy a better chance of using possession in the wide spaces there was not enough time to save the game.

A somewhat disappointing result for the Navy Academy, but a display of determination and resilience given the conditions and a game which could easily have gone either way. Overall, plenty of positives to take forward to the next game in Plymouth where there will hopefully be better conditions to allow the kind of fast paced, expansive rugby the Academy like to play. Having had several Academy players already picked up for the Senior IX, this squad is clearly developing the future of Navy rugby. Players and the training support group are a credit to the Service they represent.

Academy: R Orr Burns, C Goldsmith, J Wales (VC); D Gallon, C Darlins; V Delainukunawa, A Duffield, J Cheshire; C Atwood (C), W Findlay, A Parry, C Bull, J Maleham, H Johnson,J Tyler.

Replacements: D Scott, A Einchcomb, C Laubscher, C Kerr, T Holloway, Z johns, C Ransom, C Black, B Knight, C Williams, J Clark, C Orme.

Words by P Moore and A Carter-Humphries

Images by Cinnabar Studios