Old Dunstionians 25, Lewes  29: Visitors edge tightly-fought contest

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Action from the game

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Not surprisingly after a 3-week break over the Christmas period, Lewes were somewhat  rusty in the opening quarter of this match, with their normal flowing play disrupted by a series of unforced errors and sloppy defence.

As a result, Dunstonians - playing throughout with a level of confidence and skill which belied their lowly League position - went into an early 3 - 0 lead with a penalty from 25 metres out which their outside-half kicked over to open the scoring.

Action from the game.

Action from the game.

But on 20 minutes, Lewes hit back, at last finding their form and putting pressure on their opponents via strong scrummaging and speedy back play. This was rewarded with a fine, but unconverted, try by flanker Nathan Lowen out left to see his side take the lead at

3 - 5.However, straight from the re-start Lewes conceded another penalty, on 23 metres, which OD's No. 10 kicked over for the hosts to re-take the advantage at 6 - 5.This extended to 13 - 5 five minutes later after Dunstonian's speedy and elusive left-winger picked up loose ball inside his own 22 metre zone before sprinting down the line for a fine individual try, his outside-half adding the extras. This stung the visitors into action and they upped their game with a combination of disciplined play and aggressive defence which afforded them more territory and possession than they had enjoyed thus far.

Five minutes from the break, they won good scrum ball on half-way, enabling Player-Coach, and No. 8, Mike Stubbs to embark on a strong charge through Dunstonians' defence before off-loading to left-winger Henry Shiel in support, who touched down under the posts; outside-centre Abe Bredin slotted over the conversion to see Lewes pull back to 13 - 12. In spite of increasing dominance as the first half ended, Lewes were unable to add to the scoreline.

It took Lewes until the 56th. minute to go back in front at 13 - 15 when Bredin kicked over a penalty from the 22 metre line, and some 13 minutes later they went further ahead at

13 - 22, Lowen going over for his second try after a good period of attacking play, Bredin adding the extras. Five minutes from the whistle, Lewes gained their fourth, bonus-point try from a neat charge through the mid-field by right-wing Will Tobin before touching down under the posts. With Bredin kicking over the conversion to extend the lead to 13 - 29, Lewes's hardy band of supporters thought the game was done and dusted - but Dunstonians had other ideas! With Lewes making 3 replacements in one go, and in spite of the visitors camping down within the hosts 22 metre zone to try and see the game out, two mistakes handed the ball to opposition players - their left-winger and scrum-half - who each sprinted the length of the pitch in quick succession to score another 2 tries, with 1 conversion from their outside-half, to see them gain a deserved losing bonus point at the final whistle.

Although the final scoreline 25 - 29 looked as though this was a tightly-fought contest, Lewes were nevertheless fully deserving of their victory, and the bonus-point away win sees them retain their equal second-place spot in the League table.

Lewes: Rainer, Hatch, Morgan, Dean, Blunt, Lowen, Furze, Stubbs, Millis-Ward, Costigan, Shiel, Booth, Bredin, Tobin, Halpin (Capt.). (Reps., all used: Gorbell, Gribble, Petty)

On Saturday, Lewes host bottom-placed Ashford, k.o. 2.00pm. However, they will not take this game as a given, as in the earlier away match they surprisingly went down in one of their rare defeats of the season to date.