With conditions returning to something like normal for this time of year, Lewes were virtually unstoppable in this convincing win over visitors Worthing.
The return of Captain James Halpin for his first game of the season following long-term injury problems, and the debuts of University students Nathan Lowen in the second-row and Jack Edwards at prop, added to Lewes’s squad strength, and this was exemplified as the hosts went onto the attack straight from the kick-off.
Player-Coach and No. 8 Mike Stubbs scored the first try of the match only moments later, following a strong rolling maul upfield and inside-centre Nick Sharp’s conversion saw his side take an early lead at 7 - 0. Six minutres later this was extended to 14 - 0, outside-half Billy Shiel finishing off a good move between forwards and backs, Sharp adding the extras.
On the half-hour, Lewes’s dominance saw them score their third try under the posts, Lowen touching down and Sharp converting to make it 21 - 0.Their valuable bonus-point fourth try came after 35 minutes, hooker Alfie Hill finishing off a stunning move wide out on the right, and Sharp’s magnificent conversion added the two points to see the hosts take an unassailable lead at 28 - 0. However, they had not finished the half as, almost from the re-start, second-row Jack Nayler stormed upfield from the half-way line for a speedy try which Sharp also converted, and seconds later Stubbs scored his second try, again converted by Sharp, to extend the advantage to 42 - 0.
But seconds before the half-time whistle blew, Worthing hit back with an unconverted try in the left corner by their No. 12 - the first try conceded by Lewes for three matches - to make it 42 - 5 at the break.
In first quarter of the second half, Worthing came more into the game as Lewes visibly relaxed, but their efforts were thwarted when their No. 12 was yellow-carded for a high tackle. Lewes took full advantage of the extra man, Stubbs scoring his hat-trick try soon after, Sharp slotting over the conversion to stretch the lead to 49 - 5. Lewes then took back control, and on 64 minutes Nayler scored his second long-range try which Sharp converted to go further ahead at 56 - 5.
But the best was saved for last - eight minutes from the end of the match, a flowing move from inside their own 22 metre area saw Lewes
break out with a great period of inter-passing, finished off by left-winger Owen Wells; although the conversion was relatively simple, Sharp spoilt his 100% record by fluffing his kick wide! Nevertheless, Lewes ended the match with a convincing 61 - 5 win which sees them retain second place in the League.
In the bar afterwards, the players voted Stubbs as Man-of-the Match, whose comments on the match were: “We worked hard on being more clinical in the week, and making the most of our possession. We scored some great tries and some of our close support and off-loading was excellent.”
Lewes: - Williams, Hill, Cripps, Lowen, Nayler, Blunt, Hatch, Stubbs, Wood, Shiel, Wells, Sharp, Tobin, Dowd, Wade. (reps., all used: Edwards, Gribble, Halpin).
On Saturday, Lewes 1st’s are without a match, but the 2nd.XV are at home to Ditchling 2’s in the 1st. Round of the Salver Knock-Out Cup, k.o. 2.00pm.
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