UCKFIELD Rugby Club put two years of play-off hurt behind them by securing promotion from Sussex One on Saturday with four games of the season to spare, writes Steve Pickthall.
Needing just a point to guarantee the league title, Uckfield turned on the style in the second half at East Grinstead II to run out 45-12 winners and make it a perfect 18 wins from 18.
The side have been totally untouchable this season, remaining unbeaten in league and cup, winning every game by at least 30 points and are on course to hit an astonishing 1,000 points for the campaign.
Coach Kevin Martin, who began playing for the club in the under-sixes more than 40 years ago, said: “To have a 100 per cent, 18 out of 18 wins as well as cup games is no mean feat but basically it’s all down to the players.
“Most of them are from Uckfield which makes it even better.
“It’s massive for the club. Historically when the first team have gone up a league they’ve never been able to stay up but with the team at the moment I would say, if they stay together, they can push on in the next league and do well.”
Uckfield’s stunning season helps ease the pain of two successive play-off defeats having finished the last two campaigns as runners-up. Last year they led Cranbrook by 19 points with 20 minutes to play before running out of steam.
Having already taken the title with four matches remaining they go into London 3 South East automatically to return to a level they have not been at in several decades.
The team’s success has been just that – a complete team effort, though shining stars include top scorer Greg Chappell who has added 31 tries so far and Kieran Martin, who has kicked more than 250 points.
The talented team are also still in the Junior Vase, with a game against Old Freemens to come for a place in the quarter finals. With the final set to be staged at Twickenham they are already dreaming of the perfect end to a so far perfect season.
PICTURED: the title-winning squad with Miss Brighton Annabel Bolton earlier in the season. Pic by Ron Hill.