Chichester 17 Tonbridge Juddians 47
EVERY game matters now for TJs, and a trip to the south coast to take on Chichester is always a stiff test. And so it proved, as Chi, boosted by a vociferous home crowd, came out of the blocks to dominate the first 20 minutes.
Four penalties later and TJs were 12-0 down and struggling to secure any ball.
After a penalty for themselves, TJs finally created space for Jon McMahon to go over and bring them back to 12-8.
Liam Prescott added a long-distance penalty as the half ended, and TJs went in just one point in arrears.
It was not a great position, but they were still in the mix knowing that a strong second-half performance should do the trick.
As is often their way, TJs came out strong in the second half and Prescott added another penalty to take them in front at 12-14.
Pick and go from the forwards put Cole Campbell over, and it was 21-12 but still tight.
Chi were trying a few things, but one cross-kick was their undoing as it fell nicely into James Copsey’s arms and he jogged in unopposed.
Then a penalty kick to the corner led to a lineout win, drive and ball being shifted left to Copsey to grab his second and secure the bonus point.
TJs were reduced to 14 as Stephen Nelli received a yellow card, and Chi hit back with a try of their own to close to 17-33.
But TJs eased away again with some excellent phase play that put Jon McMahon in for his second. A late penalty try rounded it off.
Second-placed Wimbledon won at Combe but failed to pick up a bonus, which puts them five points behind TJs now.
Both have a Saturday off, with TJs back in action on March 4 at The Slade.