IN summer-like conditions which suited their fast-flowing backs, Lewes took full advantage to gain revenge over their visitors for the earlier away defeat by storming to a 48-24 victory which secures their sixth-placed league position.
It took the Sussex side only four minutes to get onto the scoreboard when, following good ruck ball on the 22 metre line, in-form flanker and captain Callum Armstrong sped to the line for the opening try, converted by inside-centre Jon Pitts, to take an early 7-0 lead.
Lewes continued to exert pressure on their opponents with a combination of strong forward play and swiftly-running backs, and even when Dunstonians took play back into Lewes’ half, the attack was short-lived as the home side’s controlled defence held them out.
Indeed, Lewes soon hit back with a fine try from inside their own half after 20 minutes, winning turnover ball which was then worked upfield for flanker Tom Tudor to score out wide in the left corner. Pitts’ great, long-range conversion saw his side go further ahead at 14-0.
Some 10 minutes later, this became 19-0 as a Dunstonians attack broke down, enabling outside-centre Dan Wade to pick up and run some 30 metres to the line for Lewes’ third try, Pitts’ conversion attempt just drifting wide. This remained the score at the half-time break.
It took nine minutes into the second half before Dunstonians scored their first points of the game, their left-winger Tom Pelling going over in the corner from a set scrum for an unconverted try to make it 19-5. But Lewes hit back on 52 minutes with a well-worked try from inside their own half, full-back Matty Hodson touching down for Lewes’ fourth, bonus-point try. Pitts’ conversion stretched the advantage to 26-5.
A strong forward drive by Dunstonians then followed, enabling their No 8, Luke Smart, to crash over for a good try, converted by outside-half John Smith, to pull back to 26-12.
This fine, see-saw, display of rugby continued as Lewes went further ahead 31-12 one minute later, a Dunstonians scrum near Lewes’ line breaking down with a knock-on, which led to a fine counter-attack upfield, finished off by second-row Matt Ridley for another, albeit unconverted, try.
But Lewes then conceded a soft try on 72 minutes, some indifferent tackling enabling Smart to run to the line for his second try, converted by Smith, to see the visitors pull back to 31-19.
From the restart, however, Lewes won the ball deep inside Dunstonians half, forcing them to concede a penalty for offside, which Pitts duly slotted over to make it 34-19.
The visitors responded a few minutes later, Pelling scoring his second and his side’s fourth try in the right-hand corner which, although unconverted, still gave his team a bonus-point of their own with the score at 34-24.
The Sussex outfit were not finished, however, as Dunstonians let the ball go loose for Tudor to hack it upfield and touch-down for a great individual try with Pitts’ conversion extending the lead to 41-24.
With a few minutes remaining, Lewes introduced 17-year old winger Henry Shiel onto the pitch, who immediately scored a try in the left corner with his first touch of the ball, Pitts’ excellent conversion seeing Lewes round off an impressive victory, in front of a large and appreciative home crowd.
The win was made even sweeter by the fact that all three Lewes senior sides won their respective League matches. Lewes are away at Sevenoaks tomorrow (Saturday), kick off 3pm.