RUGBY – Postponed fixture from January goes against Lewes RFC

THIS postponed fixture from the cold of mid-January was played in spring-like conditions with a concrete hard pitch adding to the physical challenge.

With Aylesford chasing a play-off spot, this was always going to be a difficult task for Lewes. The absence of key players in the back division due to injury and holiday commitments added to the difficulty of getting a positive home result. The first half looked promising for Lewes, who had the majority of possession and the benefit of most penalty decisions. As a result they were on the front foot for most of the half – and opened their account after five minutes with a rolling maul try from Ben Hamer. Nick Sharp failed with the conversion. Aylesford hit back quickly with a try from pressure in the left hand corner. Although Lewes lost their full back, Dan Wade, after 15 minutes with a rib injury, to be replaced by colt Joe Terry, they dominated the play for the next quarter and were camped in or around the visitors’ 22. However, they only managed one score, mainly due to obdurate defence and a number of ambitious off loads. Left wing Ryan Byrne finally got the breakthrough with a try from close quarters. Sharp’s conversion gave Lewes a 12-5 lead, which was reduced just before the break when they conceded a simple penalty for off side in front of the posts. Aylesford obviously regrouped during the break and took charge immediately deciding to keep the game tight through their forwards until within sight of the Lewes 22. A kick to the corner and a rolling maul gave them the lead. Their superiority was enhanced by the hatful of penalties against the home side, mainly for offences at the kick. A try in the left hand corner and a burst from the base of the ruck from the scrum half gained them try number four and a bonus point they were urgently seeking. Lewes hauled themselves within spitting distance with another rolling maul effort from Ben Hamer, but Aylesford had the final say with a try by the posts. Another disappointing result for Lewes, but had the bonus of playing two 17 year olds in the backline, in Joe Terry and Henry Shield, both of whom did not look out of place. Lewes play their final league game tomorrow at Tunbridge Wells, 3pm.