SEAFORD hosted their last game of the season on Saturday against third-placed Burgess Hill who, with a guaranteed promotion play-off place already in their grasp, were full of confidence.
With the last few meeting between these clubs being ill tempered and full of off the ball incidents, the Scarlets were prepared for a ferocious battle, and they got one.
From the kick off the physicality was immense, with ball being won and lost by both sides on a regular basis. Both defences were solid and tempers soon flared, with the first of many altercations soon taking place. Both teams continued their efforts to break the opposition’s defences
But it was Seaford who managed it first with a beautifully-sold dummy from fly-half Ben Cox that opened up the Hill defence to let him make 20 yards before drawing the last defender and putting outside centre Chris Burns away just to the left of the posts. Cox missed the conversion but the Scarlets were now 5-0 in the lead with 10 minutes gone.
After another five minutes of end to end play, it was Burgess Hill who managed to get on the score board after Seaford were penalised for coming off their feet at the ruck area and Hill put the penalty between the stick the bring the score to 5-3.
Hill found some momentum and were soon back into the Scarlets 22, setting up a maul and driving from 10 yards out to score and add another five points to their tally.
Seaford were awarded their own penalty 10 minutes from the restart and, from just inside the halfway line, Cox chose to kick for goal. With the wind in his favour, Cox slotted the impressive kick right between the up rights to level the scores.
Just before half-time, Hill again came back at Seaford and, after several good phases of play, they looked set for another score, only to have their last pass from glory intercepted by flanker Mike Upton.
He then dashed from his own five-metre line to the opposition 22, only to give a wayward pass out to the supporting winger Mark Tait who could do nothing but watch the ball fly into touch. The score was 8-8 at the break with nothing separating either teams’ performance.
Early into the second half, Seaford’s tight head prop Jonny Wilson and second row bullock Jason Roberts were substituted. The already struggling scrum was not helped by the loss of weight and Seaford started to go backwards at an increasing rate.
With nearly 20 minutes gone in the half with no more points scored, Burgess Hill managed to work their way to the Seaford five-metre line.
Seaford’s defence was strong and unforgiving but the referee continued to award scrums to the Hill. With substitute prop Richard Foster being driven backwards on the initial engage, the scrums were now working in Hill’s favour. After at least 10 minutes of being camped on the Seaford try line, with the Scarlets putting in a monumental effort in holding balls up over the line and keeping the visitors at bay, Hill wheeled Seaford’s scrum and drove over the line where the Hill No.8 knocked on before putting the ball down, only for the ref to award the try.
Seaford came closest next with a ruck deep in their own half. The ball was passed through the hands to skipper Paul Burns, who stepped back inside his opposite number and broke away, making 60 yards up to the Hill 22 where some good defending from the visitors saw him halted. The ball was taken an extra 10 yards through a couple more rucks but Hill managed to turn the ball over and clear their lines. The game finished with a couple of sin binnings as both teams got tired and tempers frayed.
The score finished 15-8 to Burgess Hill and, with Eastbourne 2nd XV being awarded a home win over fifth-placed Holbrook, Seaford finish the season in a very respectable fourth.
A club spokesman said: “Well done to all who have played for the front side this season and contributed to a top four finish. Also congratulations to captain Paul Burns who has taken the club to another level and led from the front on every opportunity. There are big plans for Seaford next season where their sights are going to be firmly set on some silverware.
“Seaford RFC is always looking for new talent and sponsors so if you are interested please contact us. Follow us on facebook at seafordrfc/facebook.
“Seaford hold their annual “Ashes” match against their sister team and league champions Pulborough on Saturday, which will be followed by the usual post-match festivities of singing, games and brash behaviour that modern day rugby has long forgotten. All supporters, sponsors and anybody just looking for a good time are invited down for the day.
“In May Seaford tour to Torquay to take on the best from the west in a three-day trip. Thank you to Sussex Trade Windows and Jems Fresh Fish for sponsoring the club tour.”