In their opening League fixture of the season, Lewes began as they had finished last season - being outmuscled up front by a heavier pack of forwards but using the ball to good advantage on the occasions their backs were able to get into the game.
Uckfield dominated territory and possession in the first half, racing to a 22 - 3 half-time lead with 2 tries from left-winger Lee Evans, and one from full-back Gregg Chappell, with a conversion apiece from right-winger Tom George and outside-half Gareth Quay. A penalty to Uckfield kicked over by George was matched by Lewes’s only score of the half, a penalty from out-side-half Henry Tagg after 31 minutes.
Lewes, however - with a much younger team, including several members of last season’s Colts XV - upped their game in the second half, winning most of the territory and possession as a result, due in no small measure to the untiring performance of flanker Rupert Arbuthnot . This effort was rewarded 7 minutes into the half with a fine try by outside-centre Henry Sheil, who took a quick tap penalty inside Uckfield’s 22 metre zone before touching down under the posts, the conversion by Tagg reducing the arrears to 22 - 10.
This remained the score until very near the end of the match but, as Lewes tired, several of their attacking breaks broke down, letting in Uckfield for 2 late tries - a fourth, bonus-point effort from flanker Alex Hale, converted by George, and right on the whistle, an unconverted try out wide by scrum-half Jack Newcombe, making the final tally 34 - 10.
From this performance, it looks as though Lewes may be in for another testing season, but they hope to improve matters on Saturday with their first home match against Hastings and Bexhill, k.o. 3.00pm.
Lewes: Hill, Sinclair, Green, Gorbell (Capt.), Blunt, W.Shiel, Morris, Arbuthnot, James, Tagg, Mills, Byrne,
H.Shiel, Lloyd, Hutchinson. (Reps., all used:- Callaghan, Petty, Williams).
Lewes 2nd’s lost their opening League match, going down at home by 20 - 29 against Midhurst 1st’s.
Photographer Ron Hill was there to catch the action