URFC welcomed Park House to Hempstead Fields on an afternoon which began in bright sunshine but grew much colder.
The home side were in confident mood, with players returning from absence and injury, and expecting a win against lowly opposition. This victory was finally achieved but with great difficulty in a proverbial game of two halves.
Skipper Ben Woods won the toss and from the kick off, Parkhouse went onto the attack and scored in the corner. The conversion was missed 0-5, and URFC supporters were stunned. However the Uckfield tight five took immediate control, with the front row of Woods, Tom Wilding and Danny Helmsley completely dominating the opposition and pushing them back many yards in the scrum.
Following a short period of pressure the home side were awarded a penalty which was converted by Yaffe 3-5. Parkhouse attacked but were unable to pierce the strong Uckfield defence. Possession from every scrum came Uckfield’s way, and a good attack was spoilt only by a dropped ball in midfield. Lee Evans initiated another attack and a classic move created a try from the ever dangerous Alex Harle. This was converted by Yaffe 10-5.
Another break from a scrum won against the head was only just stopped, and the away side attacked from their own half. However a great steal from Martin Chappell halted their progress but another spilled pass spoilt a great opportunity. Uckfield at this stage were completely dominant and looked to be running away with the game. Darren Clarke and Harle were tearing holes in the opposition and the returning Steven Hartfield was as usual, outstanding.
A great kick from the P’s stand-off released the pressure, but a strong defensive effort soon turned into attack and Lee Evans was put in space. He was just caught by the cover, and gave a good pass inside. With the line gaping and no defender in sight this pass was sadly dropped and another chance went begging. Groans of disappointment ensued from the home crowd.
Just before half time, from a penalty close to the line, Harle quick- wittedly took it short and barrelled over. The conversion attempt hit the post, and half time came 15-5 to the home side, who were rueing the missed opportunities which could have put them out of sight.
After such a strong performance in the first half, the home supporters expected a repeat. However it was to be a totally different story..............
Although they never really got to grips with Uckfield’s scrummage power, Parkouse began to gain the lion’s share of possession and attacked strongly for most of the second half. They chose to kick for the corner from several penalties conceded, and put a lot of pressure on the home defence. However they were unable to penetrate until about 10 minutes from the end when the scored an unconverted try in the corner. 15-10 and some nerves on the home balcony.
Waves of attacks were resisted and eventually Uckfield broke away a gained a penalty in the away 22. However the ensuing attacks came to nothing and the final whistle blew, with Woods and his team relieved to have scraped through. Parkhouse deserve much credit for a good second half performance and could have won this game. URFC have much to think about before next week’s game away to league leaders Hors