5 - 53
Burgess Hill, like Bognor last week, had beaten us earlier in the season at Saint Hill. They had also beaten Bognor so it was with some trepidation that we travelled to the home of the self acclaimed ‘Sussex All Blacks’ to play the team at the top of the league for the second weekend running. Last minute call ups, had left us a little short, but when at quarter of an hour after meet time, there were only three players at the club, I was really concerned! Things got worse when Nicky persuaded Ben to go up in the loft to get the Christmas decorations down “while we were waiting’” - people have disappeared forever up there! A couple more showed up, and in hope that the rest were meeting us at Burgess Hill, we set out.
After a few scary moments (See DotD later), we had a team of sorts, and took to the pitch in the heavy Burgess Hill mud. The ref made the “All Blacks” turn their shirts inside out to avoid a colour clash, and so they became the “All Whites”. They didn’t look very angelic however as they swept down the hill at us to crash over in the opening minutes and take a five point lead! We had spoken about starting well, so this was a massive disappointment, but we determined to put it right and soon after, having stretched the defence both ways, Marriott senior strolled in under the posts for a converted try to put us in the lead! Playing up the hill, in the thick, cloggy mud, was really exhausting, but we knew that if we could be in touch at half time, we would have them in the second half. I don’t think any of us quite expected the next half an hour as we ran in four more tries, two from Max Crawley-Moore, another brutal touch down from Kris Ailes, and a piece of individual brilliance from Ben Gray, as he chipped over the onrushing defence, regathered, stepped the fullback to score a beaut! We all knew we would never hear the end of that one (Although, to take him down a peg or two, he converted none of these)!
Having virtually made the game safe, we wanted to make a statement in the second half, and play good controlled phase play, and run through our repertoire, and although a few complacent mistakes materialised, the second half went the same way as the first. With the fresh legs of Joey Marriott and Colin Mackay bolstering our ranks, we scored four more in the second period. The first of these saw lovely hands to put Marriott junior over in the corner as his first contribution, Max secured his hat trick (and lovely jug after) before Dodge scored with a wonderful piece of footballing skill. The pass to him was sloppy and hit the deck, but a flick of his foot saw the pill dance into his hands, a la Simon Zebo, and there was no stopping him. There was still time for Lee Sands to bundle over from a lovely training park move, before the excellent ref blew for the game.
Our back row, were amazing all game. we spoke before the match about them running everything hard at the big Hill units, and Kris, Andy and Tom were all fantastic. Massive thanks to the boys who stepped up to help fill a few holes, Max CM was unplayable at times in getting his triple, Tim Morris, grumpy as he was having to play second row, was fantastic as our only lineout jumper, but my MoM was Steve Lampkin who had an extraordinary game, I would love to know how many meters he made with his ridiculously powerful, barnstorming runs - a joy to watch mate! 2 x DotD this week, firstly to the Burgess Hill player who has given me the biggest dead leg of all time (Joey had to put my sock on for me this morning as my leg just won’t work), and secondly to Max CM who, with half an hour to KO, text to say he was not coming as he was hungover in London - he actually had us going for a moment!
I don’t think any of us quite saw this scoreline coming, but it is certainly a great way to go into the Christmas period. 1’s and 3’s are playing next week, so keep yourself available!