Crowborough Quelled in Cup Quarter
5 - 12
Much rain had fallen since we last played local rivals Crowborough in the league, in what was a fast, free flowing game in the sunshine. This was always going to be a different encounter with heavy ground and drizzle making the ball like a bar of soap. The conditions were not the only thing that differed as Crowborough took to the field with a very different and much larger team than earlier in the season!
And so it began, a real tug of war, with both sides having long periods of possession and territory. Indeed it was G’s who started brighter and played the early rugby, but just couldn’t break through the excellent Crow’s defence. We spoke before the game about playing simple stuff in the first quarter, but didn’t heed our own advise, as big hits, conditions and errors, caused the ball to squirm out of our grasp on several early occasions. It was Crowborough, playing in front of their vocal support, who gained a foothold in our 22 and powered over for the game's first try.
As we gathered under the posts, and watched the conversion narrowly sail wide, it was obvious where we needed to improve and where the main Crowborough threats were coming from. Resolving to put things right, away we went, with great carries from the big boys, Chris Pentney and Sean Morgan in particular made large dents. But despite sustained pressure and a string of attacking scrums just five yards out, last moment panic where there should have been composure saw Crowborough hold out and the ref blew for the half!
Simple rugby was again the talking point in our half time huddle and fresh legs from Hoggers and Andy Apps lifted us again. It wasn’t long before simple hands saw Gibbo away down the right to score and bring the score level 5 - 5. It was then Crowborough who pinned us back for a lung bursting 20 minutes where we just couldn’t get out of our half. Fabulous defence across the pitch kept out the big Crow runners, With Max Crawley-More in particular, putting in some cracking tackles of eye watering intensity. Both wingers coped with a barrage of wide attack and high ball beautifully, and I have to mention Jake Radcliffe, playing his first game at 10, pulling down players twice his size and reliving pressure when given the chance, with his young but cultured boot.
Into the last quarter and G’s fitness started to tell, working our way slowly but surely up the pitch, ‘mistake free’ rugger started to flow again and it was soon us battering the Crowborough line, Gibbs, Pentney and Marriott all going close, but credit where credit’s due, the red and white’s defence was amazing. Where most teams would crumble, they stood firm for phase after phase. I thought we might have blown it when a penalty was spurned in front of the posts, and extra time was beckoning, but we had one more chance and Radders squirmed through the defence to slide over, just, to break Crowborough hearts. The conversion was the last play and the celebrations began - Another cup run boys!!!
A great game that I enjoyed immensely (Although I feel pretty wrecked this morning), and look forward to our next encounter with these boys who have given us our best two games of the season so far. Our pack was amazing across the park, with Pentney playing better and better each week, Lampkin so solid every time. All the front row were excellent and Morris, Morely, Casey and Apps all put in an enormous shift. Many thanks to colt Matt Edwards playing his first senior game on the wing - an excellent debut. But Jake Radcliffe is my MoM for an amazing match at 10 and scoring the winner.