Weather plays a key role as Lewes win but slip to second

second-row Jack Nayler breaks through. Picture by Danny Simpson
second-row Jack Nayler breaks through. Picture by Danny Simpson

For the second week running, the weather played a key role in the outcome of this local derby.

With the remnants of Storm Abigail lashing down on the Stanley Turner Ground, this was nevertheless a very entertaining match, especially as the pitch held up well and a large crowd was present, in spite of the adverse conditions.

outside-half Billy Shiel on his way to scoring Lewes's second try. Picture by Danny Simpson

outside-half Billy Shiel on his way to scoring Lewes's second try. Picture by Danny Simpson

The first half-hour of the match was dominated, not surprisingly, by a string of unforced errors from both sides, but gradually Lewes - with the more powerful pack of forwards - began to get on the ascendant. Their efforts paid off after 31 minutes when, following a strong forward drive upfield, replacement prop Harry Cripps crashed over near the line for the first try of the match, centre Nick Sharp’s conversion seeing the hosts open the lead at 7 - 0.

Six minutes later, Lewes went further ahead at 14 - 0, a fine move involving both forwards and backs inside Brighton’s 22 metre area ending with outside-half Billy Shiel touching down under the posts, Sharp adding the extras to see his side go in at the break with a healthy advantage.

Ten minutes into the second half, Lewes scored their third try, Player-Coach and No. 8 Mike Stubbs rounding off a forwards’ try under the posts with Sharp slotting over the conversion to extend the advantage to 21 - 0.

At this stage, the home crowd were expecting Lewes’s fourth, bonus-point try to swiftly follow but events then took a turn which had the effect of upsetting their flow and rhythm: a serious injury to one of Brighton’s players saw play held up for a quarter of an hour to enable an ambulance to come onto the field, and when play re-started - and with the rain and wind growing even stronger in force - Lewes were unable to add to their score in spite of several brave attempts to cross the visitors’ line, the match ending with a 21 - 0 victory to Lewes.

scrum-half Callum Wood makes a break. Picture by Danny Simpson

scrum-half Callum Wood makes a break. Picture by Danny Simpson

Stubbs’ comments afer the match: “Our first-half preformance was outstanding, as we learnt from last week’s match and executed our game-plan well. Out levels dropped slightly in the second half, but this was another good win in terrible conditions. To not concede any points again was very pleasing”.

Match Sponsor Tony Spencer - a Lewes stalwart and proprietor of APS Plumbing Services - awarded Man-of-the-Match to loose-head prop, Alfie Hill.

Although this was another fine win for Lewes, nearest rivals Haywards Heath picked up a bonus point in their victory over Midhurst, seeing them go to the top of the League by one point, with Lewes slipping to second as a result.

Lewes: - Hill, Warren, Williams, Jacques, Nayler, Blunt, Fuse, Stubbs, Wood, Shiel, Wells, Sharp, Templeton, Feltham, Rumpson. (Reps., all used: Cripps, Durle, Mouli).

On Saturday, Lewes entertain Worthing Seniors, k.o. 2.30pm

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