Lewes knocked off the top by frustrating defeat

This proved a difficult afternoon on the road for Lewes, although the final score did not reflect the overall nature of play.

Some highly contentious refereeing decisions influenced Medway’s 29-19 victory which saw Lewes slip from top of the table to fifth.

From the off Medway were quicker into their stride and put Lewes’s line under considerable pressure, although resolute defence kept them at bay and slick hands set right winger Drew Neist away to glide in to give Lewes the first try, converted by Josh Reid.

Just before half time Lewes scrum half Simon Marsh was sin binned, quickly followed by full back Dan Wade, and with the numerical advantage Medway broke the visitors’ try line to trail 5-7 at the break.

Neist nearly went over at the start of the second half, but then two puzzling penalty decisions led to two Medway tries to put the hosts 19-7 to the good.

Lewes heads stayed up, and they were rewarded with a great try from the outstanding Matty Hodson, but he was then penalised for alleged ‘crossing’ and from it Medway scored again, and a penalty further stretched their lead. Despite another yellow card Lewes maintained their attacking style and Neist scored his second try, converted by Reid off the crossbar as it finished 29-19 to Medway.

Coach Nigel Baker summed it up: “This was one of the most frustrating games I`ve experienced in my 17 years of coaching rugby. It was a game we should have won, but thus was made difficult in that we played with 14 men for 30 minutes and with only 13 for a mad 10 minutes, with several players out of position as a result.”

Lewes 2nds drew 5-5 draw at Hove, John Wood with the try, but Lewes 3rds lost 30-8 at Rye, John Walmer with the try and Terry Falk with a penalty.