Lewes’s resurgence towards the end of their season continued in their final League game at home against local rivals, Uckfield, thereby gaining revenge for their heavy defeat against the same side in the opening match back in September.
However, it was not enough to stave off relegation, meaning that Lewes will play in Sussex League 1 next season.
Although the initial pressure came from the hosts, it was the visitors who opened the scoring with their first foray into Lewes’s22 metre area after 13 minutes, when they charged down a Lewes kick, enabling the ball to be fed out wide for their full-back to touch down for the first try of the match, the conversion by their flanker seeing them put the first points on the scoreboard, 0 - 7.
But straight from the re-start, a fumble by Uckfield ended with a penalty against them which outside-half Henry Tagg duly slotted over from 35 metres out to narrow the gap to 3 - 7. Lewes went into the lead immediatley after when they won good ball inside their own half for left-winger Joe Terry to slice through the Uckfiled defence before off-loading to Tagg, who sprinted fully 60 metres for a fine, but unconverted, try in the left corner to go in at the break with a deserved 8 - 7 advantage.
This lead increased to 11 - 7 within seconds of the second-half, Tagg kicking over another penalty, and he then completed his personal tally of all Lewes’s points immediately after Uckfield’s re-start kick with a weaving run to score his second try near the posts, which he then converted to stretch his side’s lead to 18 - 7. In the final quarter, Uckfield came back into the game, and on 64 minutes drew closer with a rare break into Lewes’s half, their out-side half evading all tackle attempts before touching down near the posts, the conversion by No. 7 narrowing the gap to 18 - 14.
But Lewes’s defence and organisation - which have improved immeasurably over the past weeks - saw them hold out for a fine win, appreciated by the large crowd, which - albeit too late - lifted them off the bottom of the League table.
On Saturday, Lewes host the Sussex Salver Final between Hove 4 and Newick 2, k.o. 12.00 noon, followed at 2.30pm by the Sussex Shield Final between BSMS(Medics) and Burgess Hill.
The following Saturday (25 April), Lewes entertain Crowborough in the quarter-final of the Bob Rogers Cup, k.o. 2.30pm.