On a glorious sunny day, after the Disappointment of losing last year’s Final on the toss of a coin, Uckfield 11s fulfilled their potential to win the trophy at the biggest festival of the year going unbeaten and scoring 17 tries to 2 against during the day.
First up were Burgess Hill who we dominated with some lovely running play- We racked up seven tries in this game from Ric, Henry x 2, Lucas, Harry Joel and Harvey Pr.
Next up were Hastings and Bexhill and again after a slow start our boys got on top both in the Forwards and Backs. Once Jack H went over for the first try the floodgates opened with 4 more coming afterwards from Ted, Joel x 2 and Harry.
Our third game of the pool was against the Hosts Brighton- Some fantastic attacking Rugby was played by both sides. No quarter was asked or given and the Ref said at half time it was a very tense affair. The second half started the same but Uckfield won the ball at the Ruck played out across the backs and Henry went over to score the only try of the game. Exciting rugby to watch on both sides.
The last game of the pool was against Eastbourne- Uckfield knowing that a draw would be good enough to reach the Final. The previous game against Brighton was a tough one and we started slowly against Eastbourne who looked a very good side with some lovely passing moves.
Uckfield’s defence was being put under a lot of pressure and Eastbourne went over to score in the latter stages of the first Half. During half time the coaches switched around a little and Uckfield came out more determined and coherent. Soon after Jack H went over to equalise. Despite some nervy moments the game ended 1-1 and Uckfield were through to the final for the second year running.
We had to wait to hear who our opponents would be as the other group had finished with Crowborough the holders equal on points with Lewes. Try count back etc couldn’t part them so after a toss of a Coin the Holders were out and we would face Lewes in the final.
Uckfield were on the attack straight away and only some very determined defence from Lewes holding up over the try line stopped an early try. Both team’s supporters were cheering the sides on but it was Uckfield who took the lead with Ted going over and on the last play of the half Joel doubled the lead at half time.
From the kick off for the second half Lewes won the ball and after a lovely passing move bought the deficit back to 2-1- Nerves were stating to jangle. We needn’t have worried as Jack H who had played brilliantly all day went over to score our third 3-1. After that Uckfield comfortably saw the game out. The ref called last play, Uckfield won the line out and Ric kicked the ball to touch and so the celebrations started. Lewes our friends and great rivals were very gracious in defeat applauding the way we had played.
The first time an Uckfield team has won this festival playing some fantastic Rugby all day against some very hard teams.
Well done to the squad: Ric, Jack H, Harvey Pr, Tom, JJ, Lucas, Connor, Jimbo, Harvey Pa, Ted, Henry, Harry, Joel, Monty, Jack M & James.
And a massive well done and thanks to the coaches who kept the players believing after missing out narrowly over the past 2 years