Second Half Blitz hits Seaford Hard
Seaford 17 - 31 East Grinstead
A blustery day on the coast against a big Seaford side was always going to be a tough affair and with an inexperienced back line the job was to be made that little bit more difficult. James Stokes
was starting his first game at scrum half for the 1st team, Max Crawley-Moore
starting only his second game was partnered in the centres by Scott Anderson
who had been moved in off his wing and there was a full debut for Jake Radcliffe
on the wing. The pack had a familiar look to it and their experience was to prove vital throughout the course of the game.
An early penalty from the Seaford fly half opened the scoring and the scores were to remain this way until midway through the half when the Grinstead pack mauled their way to the try line from just inside the 22. The ball had changed hands multiple times during the drive but it was Daniel Arnold
who was in control as they crossed the line to take a 5-3 lead. The less said about the rest of the first half the better as a moment of madness under our own sticks was followed by a loose kick which found its way in to the hands of the opposing full back who duly trotted over the line. Within minutes Seaford extended their lead further from a scrum on their own 5 metre line which was fed to their pacey outside back who ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts. With both tries converted we found ourselves on the wrong end of a 17-5 score line and looking down the barrel of a gun at half time.
Skipper, Mark Oliver
was calmness personified during the break and reassured his troops that this game was there for the taking if they stuck to the game plan. Seaford looked to have played their familiar surroundings and the elements perfectly but what was to come next was a masterclass in forwards play and territorial rugby. Our scrum and line out were on top throughout the 2nd half so we knew that if we played the corners we had opportunities to steal ball or at least force mistakes. Forward momentum from Ross Perry
, John Peaty
and Bertram Beanland in the loose and good tactical kicking from Steven Cooke
and Jordan Tucker
was slowly turning the tide of the match. On the hour mark Ruari Andrews
snatched a bouncing ball and crashed over to reduce the deficit and within 5 minutes he had his second of the game from a similar barnstorming drive. This was to be his final act due to injury but with Morgan Burger
and front row debutant Max Evans
, replacing Sean Morgan
, entering the field we knew we had the legs to cause Seaford further damage. Sitting only 2 points in front with plenty still left on the clock it was always a dangerous game to push for the bonus point but we knew had to in order to keep Hellingly in touching distance. Daan Hulst
, now playing at number 8, was the man to bring up the bonus with a great solo try off the back of a scrum. Clean ball and a slight change in angle gave him a direct line over the top of the Seaford winger. There was still time for the backs to get involved in the try scoring; an excellent kick chase from Sam Montagu
put the covering winger in all sorts of panic. First he dropped the ball then he knocked it on but to make things worse he fell over and gave Montagu an easy dot down. The conversion from Cooke ended the scoring at 17-31 and left the Seaford crowd gobsmacked.
There are certainly lessons to be learned from this game but also lots more positives to take from it. Seaford are a seasoned Sussex 1 outfit, well drilled and dangerous in attack. To go to their patch and come back from 17-5 down with only 20 minutes left to play showed great character from all 17 players. Martyn Ansboro said “It was frustrating to watch during the first half as we kept on squandering good field position but there was always something in the back of my mind telling me to remain calm. The second half was fantastic. The boys found 3 more gears to move through and showed what they are capable of. Getting the bonus point was all that mattered today; it is the business end of the season already as far as we are concerned and we are going to take advantage of the free weekend before we travel to Hellingly.”