Holbrook beat St Francis to book Sussex Bowl semi-final place

Sussex 4 West league leaders Holbrook overcame the odds as they beat Sussex 3 side St Francis in the quarter-finals of the Sussex Bowl.

Holbrook'Â’s winger Adam Davies on the attack
Holbrook'Â’s winger Adam Davies on the attack

Despite their strong form in the league of 12 games unbeaten, Holbrook knew they would encounter fierce opposition in the form of much bigger and heavier pack.

The Holbrook game plan was simple, total commitment to take on and tire the bigger St Francis pack in first half and then use the fitness, speed and agility of the Holbrook backs in the second half.

The very muddy and wet pitch favoured the St Francis forwards and their up-the-jumper style of play, but strong defence and determination from Holbrook resulted in a close contest.

It was clear that the game was going to be tight, so when Holbrook were awarded a penalty, there was no hesitation from fly-half Andy Collins, who, with an impressive kick, put the visitors three points ahead.

Holbrook scrum-half Joel Murray then scored a try close to right post to increase their lead to 8-0.

At the restart, St Francis raised the intensity, putting Holbrook under real pressure and were awarded a five metre attacking scrum. It was clear that St Francis were expecting a push-over try, but were denied as the Holbrook pack managed to lock-out. But in the next and final phase of play of the first half, St Francis did get over the line.

The second half continued to be a closely-fought contest and it looked like the side that scored first would come away as winners.

The Holbrook defence dug deep and St Francis were not able to breech the wall of yellow shirts. With the home pack beginning to tire, Holbrook found a little more in the tank and were rewarded with tries from Murray and front row Sam Bolitho giving them a 18-5 win.

Holbrook now progress into semi-final to face Brighton III away on March 18.