Uckfield picked up two points in London 3 SE for a 10-10 draw at Gillingham Anchorians on Saturday.
Uckfield travelled to Gillingham Anchorians last Saturday missing several key players. The home team started well, using the wind to put themselves deep into Uckfields territory. With a considerably heavier pack, conditions were always going to favour Anch’s, especially at scrum time where Uckfield were being marched back at a rate of knots.
It wasn’t long before Uckfield were penalised on their 22m line, Anchs full back took the 3 points from under the posts. The pressure continued as both the wind and a good kicking game from Gillingham played Uckfield weakened pack into the bottom corner. The conditions failed to allow either team to put more than 5 phases together before somebody knocked on.
A well worked scrum allowed Gillingham’s backs to put together a set piece which cut through the Uckfield midfield, a good tackle from Ian Page Mitchell couldn’t quite stop the offload to the supporting player to score under the posts.
Uckfield did enjoy a fair amount of possession deep in the Anch’s territory going close on several occasions but failing to cross the whitewash. Toby Keogh was unable to capitalise on two first half opportunities to register Uckfield on the scoreboard, conditions providing a difficult test for the kickers.
Uckfield then made themselves a real threat to the try line however blundered several opportunities and were consistently pegged back by the boot of Gillingham’s fly half. They then lost Jon Fordham to the Sin Bin after an infringement at the line out.
Just as things were looking down a quickly taken penalty from Lee Evans gave Declan French the chance to show his strength in ball carrying, diving over the line out wide taking three tacklers with him. Keogh unable to find his range with the conversion.
Uckfield continued to press, pinning Anch’s into the 22m and were almost rewarded when they had two opportunities disallowed for Darren Clark and Matt Evans, neither were clear in their grounding. Uckfield’s chance came in the 70th minute as Anch’s began to tire. After enjoying several phases, Darren Clark threw a long pass to Toby Keogh who slid in from 10 metres out to pull Uckfield level. Again his kick fell short.
Anchorians could have taken the match beyond Uckfield with one minute on the clock, winning a penalty under in front of the posts, however kicked for the corner and lost the ball from the ensuing line out.
Uckfield will need to improve on this greatly to topple high flyers Sheppey when they make the trip to Hempstead Fields on Saturday.
Uckfield 1st XV: I Page-Mitchell (J Miller 65mins), T Keogh, D French, J Forward, L Evans, D Clark, S Charman; A Palmer, M Caket, C Diplock, J Fordham, S Brand, A Elms (D Guyten 20 mins), J Williams, M Evans.