UCKFIELD progressed to the last 16 in the country of the Junior Vase on Saturday after comfortably beating Surrey side Old Caterhamians (OC’s) on a well looked after pitch in glorious rugby conditions.
Uckfield were without fly half Stuart Pearham, who was rested in order for him to represent the South East of England U20s the following day, while full back Rob Raymond’s training ground injury has bought a premature end to his try-less season, in which Uckfield’s 1st XV have scored 1,295 points thus far: how he hasn’t scored is beyond everyone at the club.
Despite the differences in league rankings, the Acorns knew that anything can happen in cup rugby, and approached the game in the same way they have all season. As per usual, Uckfield were man for man smaller in the pack. However, this – again, as usual, wasn’t a problem as Uckfield were able to win all of their own scrums and 75 per cent of their opponents.
The first half saw Uckfield score in the third minute through scum half Jack Donohoe, his first try in Gold and Purple. A further six tries were run in by Uckfield sporadically throughout the half, offloading freely out of the tackle, in what was at times some of their best rugby of the year. The pick of the bunch was second row Luke Austin’s solo jinking run from his own 10-metre line.
OC’s did manage to get on the score sheet from a try following a lineout after some back chat from an Uckfield forward saw them marched back by the referee, followed by a kick to the corner by their fly-half.
The half time score was 47-5.
The second half was not so pretty to watch. Uckfield still managed six tries, however they had a 15-minute spell of not scoring, in which uncharacteristic errors saw them keep themselves pinned in their own half. Only endless work from the back row of Matt Evans, Dan McCabe and Mark Caket kept OC’s out during this time – until the 65 minutes when a dropped ball bounced kindly for a home second row, who trundled the remaining 10 metres to the try line.
Uckfield scorers were: Chappell M (3), Forward (2), Austin (2), Donohoe, Chappell G, Elms, Ward, Evans L, McCabe. Conversions: Martin (11).
A special mention must go to the 50 or so supporters that travelled up from Uckfield to support.
Uckfield play their final league game on the year away at Seaford tomorrow (Saturday), hoping to finish the league unbeaten.
However with Seaford on a run of form it is sure to be a close encounter
TEAM: Martin, Chappell G, Chappell M (c), Forward, Evans L, Ward (Elms), Donohoe; Whitmarsh, Sinclair (Bradley), Parke-Gailey, Austin, Brand (Funnell), Caket (Cornick), Evans M, McCabe.
n IT turned out to be a tough draw for Uckfield in the Area Semi Final of National Junior Vase. The Sussex side drew Middlesex champs H.A.C for the tie, away on April 16, the London and South East semi final, the same stage they got to last year
The good news is that if Uckfield win they will be at home on April 23 to Holt or Cantabrigians, and if they win that they will be at home on April 30 to the South West Champions, and we all know where they will be if they win that!
(For those who may not know, that would be the home of English rugby, Twickenham on May 14. All the best to Uckfield RFC – Sports Ed).