High-flyers Lewes enjoy a one-sided affair over Thanet as the tries fly in


This was a somewhat one-sided affair, as high-fliers Lewes took on bottom-of-the-table Thanet Wanderers at a sunny Stanley Turner Ground.

In perfect conditions, Lewes dominated the opening minutes of the match, restricting the visitors to inside their own 22 metre area for long periods.

And the inevitable break-through came after 13 minutes, flanker Tom Gribble weaving his way upfield before off-loading to outside-centre Drew Neist to add to his increasing tally of tries in the corner.

A great conversion by full-back Matty Hodson saw the hosts take an early 7-0 lead.

This became 14-0 some eight minutes later, a brilliant run from inside his own defence zone by Hodson ending when he scored a fine individual try under try under the posts, which he duly converted. Lewes were now clearly in control of the match, and they extended their advantage to 21-0 five minutes later with their third try, by prop-forward Phil Brunt, converted by Hodson.

The bonus-point fourth try came just a minute later, skipper Callum Armstrong finishing off a flowing attack after Hodson had back-flipped the ball to him to outwit the Kent side’s defence, but the missed conversion made the score 26-0. Just before half-time, another attacking move from deep saw right-winger Dan Wade score out wide, and Hodson’s great conversion seeing the hosts go in 33-0 up at the break.

Armstong scored his second after 47 minutes to make it 38-0 before Thanet scored a consolation try of their own after a loose ball was hacked forward and touched down by full-back Stuart Box. The conversion by centre Richard Case narrowed the difference to 38-7.

But Lewes hit back with Armstrong’s hat-trick try after 65 minutes (the conversion attempt bouncing back off the crossbar), and one minute later Hodson scored his second, which he also converted, to notch up 50 points. Four minutes from time, second-row Chris Gorbell scored under the posts, Hodson converting, and just before the final whistle, left-winger Shay Neist rounded off the best move with a 60 metre dash upfield. Hodson added the extras to see Lewes run out comfortable winners, and bounce back to second-place in the league.

Nigel Baker’s verdict: “A great performance of open running rugby in which all the squad excelled. Given this amount of space, we will always exploit the opportunities.”