Cinque Ports are always a large and well drilled side, and having beaten us in our last encounter, this was a tough opening fixture for this young G’s 2’s side. Warm up was exceptional however and we kicked off in the sunshine to the delight of the massed crowd, excited to be watching first class rugby again in this, the first game of the 2018/19 season.
We knew if we could move this big side around, the points would come, and it wasn’t long before the mercurial Ben Gray strode through a hole for the opening score. This was followed by eight more over the course of the afternoon, two more by Ben to secure an early season hat trick (He insists that I tell you about his seven conversions too - we won’t mention one of the two that he missed!!!) and one each for Robbie, Dodge, new boy Jack Andrews, Matt B, Tom K and Tim. There was real promise across the park with the backs cutting their opponents apart at will. The real surprise was in the pack, where Ports always compete ferociously, but our no.s 1 - 8 were brilliant from the off, completely dominating in the loose and set piece, to give Matt and Ben an armchair ride in which to launch attack after attack. The first half particularly was a really impressive spectacle of team rugby, especially as this was the first game, with a number of new players finding their feet.
Ports never gave up and were competing hard everywhere, rewarded by three fine scores of their own. It was a credit to them that their second half performance was stronger than their first, as their large runners pummeled the G’s line time and again to make the second 40 a real contest. Great rugby, great lads and I look forward to coming back to Hastings later in the season.
Special mentions to youngsters Gus and Oli, who tackled everything however big! Casey as ever was everywhere. Jack and Fin were brilliant in their first games and captain Will was an inspiration throughout. My MOM however was Richard Dodgson who was massive in defence and silky in attack - awesome mate! Ben was saved from an unfair DotD by the ref, who although was absolutely excellent (Thank you sir for a great game), gave a try on the wrong line, which confused everyone!
A quick mention to Steve Lampkin who took a couple of massive smacks to his head in the first half. Carted off in an ambulance, our reigning forward of the year, and players player, was chirpy and now out of danger, and very much looking forward to coming home later on Monday after a couple of days in hospital. Take it easy bro.