After last week's disappointing loss, Lewes bounced back with a win but it was not as convincing a victory as the score suggests.
With their line-out not firing on all guns, and with a series of unforced handling errors, Lewes handed Park House many of their points and it was only an improved performance in the second half which saw the hosts pull away for a bonus-point victory.
In fact, it was lower-placed Park who opened the scoring after only 2 minutes, the ball gifted to them when Lewes fumbled the kick-off, the resultant pressure seeing the visitor's No. 6 score on the left for a try, converted by his No. 10, to put 0 - 7 on the scoreboard.
But Lewes hit back straight away, winning turn-over ball at a ruck, leading to right-winger Jon Pitts - returning after a long-term injury - touching down for an unconverted try to narrow the deficit to 5 - 7.Lewes then took the lead 10 - 7 on 11 minutes, Player-Coach Mike Stubbs rounding off a fine attack by scoring in the left corner, the conversion going wide.
This advantage increased to 17 - 7 some 15 minutes later when another flowing move from Lewes was rounded-off by left winger Charlie Hobden in the corner, Pitt's great conversion adding the extras.
However, Park then embarked on a fight-back, firstly through their second, but unconverted, try from their left-winger, followed by a penalty via their outside half, to draw closer at 17 - 15. Then, after one of Lewes's prop-forwards was yellow-carded, the visitors took full advantage of the extra man to attack Lewes at every opportunity but the home side's defence managed to hold out until the half-time whistle.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Stubbs was also yellow-carded, and the resultant Park House pressure paid off minutes later as their hooker scored out wide for an unconverted try to make it 17 - 20.A penalty to Lewes was kicked over by Pitts to see his side draw level once more at 20 -20 but - typical of this see-saw match - Park House then went ahead again at 20 - 27 following their fourth, bonus-point try from their No. 8, converted by their outside-half.
Lewes at last began to get their act together, urged on by a vociferous home crowd, and pulled back to 25 -27 with flanker Tom Hatch's fine, but unconverted, bonus-point try, then going ahead at 32 - 27 from the restart with a great piece of attacking play, rounded off by outside-half Shane Costigan, Pitts slotting over the conversion. Lewes made the points safe with a fine try from full-back Abe Bredin, coming into the attack to touch down near the left corner, Pitt's fantastic conversion seeing his side with a comfortable 42 - 27 lead. But Park House scored the final points of the match, drawing closer to finish at 42 - 32 with an unconverted try by their hooker following a rolling maul near the Lewes line.
All in all, a somewhat lack-lustre performance by Lewes, but at least a win, which sees them retain their equal-fourth League spot with Folkestone, being behind the Kent side on points difference only.
Lewes: Roper, Hill, Morgan, Gorbell, Blunt, Mills-Ward, Hatch, Stubbs, Taylor, Costigan, Pitts, Halpin (Capt.), Tobin, Hobden, Bredin. (Reps. : Williams, O'Rourke, Dewar).
Lewes 2nd's were also at home, against a strong Cinque Ports 1st XV, going down 5 - 48 in a one-sided but enjoyable match, Lewes's sole points coming via a Josh Farr try.
PLEASE NOTE: On Saturday, Lewes's home match against Sheppey has had to be switched, on Police advice, to Brighton RFC, k.o. 2.00pm, due to the bonfire night celebrations in the Town.
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