LEWES Colts finished their season in style with a fantastic win on neutral ground at Hellingly RFC over this year’s league winners Pulborough.
This is the fourth time in five years that Lewes has won the Sussex Knockout Cup.
The first half began with Lewes adapting quickest to the aftermath of an exorbitant amount of overnight rainfall on the pitch, combined with a gusting wind.
Concentrating on keeping the ball in hand, Lewes broke early on through the Pulborough centre and Mike Nolan scored a try near the posts making it 7-0 with the conversion by Joe Terry.
After the restart Pulborough mounted an attack, moving the ball well amongst mobile backs pinning Lewes in their own 22. Some over-excited Lewes forward play saw an offside penalty being awarded with the Pulborough kicker slotting it home making it 7-3 after 10 minutes. This marked a strong period of early scrum power from Pulborough , putting the Lewes pack under pressure.
Great hooking from Lewes’ Ollie Bowry, however, meant that despite this, Lewes still provided ball to their backs. And on 20 minutes Lewes broke again with strong play from captain Harry Pulley and backs creating another (unconverted) try to make it 10-3.
This spurred Pulborough on to create a great (unconverted) try by breaking at pace on the left, making the score 10-8. The pitch by now was beginning to resemble a quigmire and the Lewes full back took advantage of a penalty from the halfway line with the wind behind to slot home an audacious kick to take the score to 13-8.
The restart again saw some strong play from Pulborough who had the edge in forward power but Lewes tackled ferociously, fearless flankers Xappho Pattison and Cameron Stevens determined to see their team end the season on a winning note.
With his confidence up, Lewes full back Jordan Whiting once again took charge of the ball on the left of the posts and, from 15 metres, kicked a magnificent drop kick to make it 15-8. A further penalty by Whiting line took the score for Lewes to 18-8 at half time.
The second half consisted largely of the Pulborough forwards camped out on the Lewes five-metre area with heroic defence snuffing out some determined Boro attacks. The mud took its toll and it emerged that Lewes were the fitter side, strong and determined, with no further score in the second half making Lewes the victors on the day 18-8.
Lewes Colts coach Richard Terry said: “It was a really exciting game and my heart was in my mouth on several occasions. The Lewes lads did well to struggle through the mud against a strong Pulborough side to hold them off and win in style. We took every opportunity to score in the first half and our defence in the second half was unbelievable. Everyone put total effort in to it and eventually Pulborough just ran out of steam and time.
“The Lewes team has gelled well over the season. Previous wins against bigger clubs such as Haywards Heath earlier on and then Heathfield in the semi finals really helped to boost confidence and put them on top form for the final. Although it was technically a Colts game we had more U17s on the pitch – the two age groups now a cohesive and formidable ‘fighting’ unit. They should be very proud of their achievement.”