Lewes bounced back to form with an impressive 29-10 home victory against third-placed Deal.
Following their previous disappointing league result – a 30-12 away defeat to Warlingham – this represented a significant turnaround in form.
And with surprising losses for Lewes’ nearest rivals, this win catapulted them back to the top of the table.
Improvement from the previous game was down in part to a much-improved display by the forwards, for whom new signing from Uckfield, hooker Ed Sinclair, impressed on debut.
Lewes took the lead after 10 minutes (5- 0), when ball won in a ruck in midfield was swung it out wide for skipper Callum Armstrong to touch down in the left corner. Five minutes later Deal’s outside-half, Blair Charge, kicked over a penalty to reduce the arrears to 5-3 and the next 15 minutes proved even-stevens. Two minutes before the break, however, Lewes took a 10-3 lead with a flowing attack from right to left ending with left-winger Drew Neist scoring in the corner for an unconverted try.
Deal were awarded a penalty just after the break but Charge missed the kick, and five minutes later Lewes scored their third try, by outside-centre Josh McGlynn after another fine attack by the backs, Josh Reid’s conversion stretching the advantage to 17-3.
A yellow card for each team more or less nullified the effect of the sin-bins and by now, Lewes were beginning to dictate matters. On 69 minutes they went further ahead (22-3) with an unconverted try by Neist.
Deal’s No. 7 was then sin-binned for a late tackle, and this enabled Lewes to pull away when flanker Tom Gribble burst through with an interception try, Reid’s great conversion from out wide seeing an emphatic 29-3 lead.
The last points went to the visitors, a consolation penalty try seconds from the end.