Littlehampton RFC continue strong start to the season with win over St Francis
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The weather was a stark contrast to last weeks wind and rain, with glorious sunshine and minimal wind. Littlehampton came into the game full of confidence and with a record squad of 24 players, the team was in good spirits.
Littlehampton started strong and after a quick defensive effort, ventured into into the St Francis half. After some sustained pressure in the 22, the deadlock was broken after a quick break and offload from Flyhalf and captain Eliot Mills, to scrum half George Johnson who dived in under the posts. Mills slotted the conversion to make it 7-0 Littlehampton after 10 mins. Littlehampton gathered the ensuing kick off and a quick break from the backs got straight back into the St Francis half. After a Littlehampton scrum the ball moved to Mills who again sliced through the St Francis defence and his opposing number. With support runners on either side and just the full back to beat, the pass went to Harry Perry who scored under the sticks. Mills again added the extras to make it 14-0 Littlehampton.
After a frantic start, Littlehampton seemed to take their foot of the gas and the remainder of the half saw sustained periods of pressure with no rewards. A few good breaks and big defensive efforts against the continued attacks of St Francis who refused to go down with out a fight. Ill discipline saw Littlehampton punished by the St Francis no. 10 who kicked multiple penalties into the corner. They were rewarded just before the half time whistle after a set piece move from a 5m line out, scoring under the posts. Conversion scored to make it 14-7 going into the break.
Littlehampton kicked off the second half and the half time team talk seemed to do the trick as the intensity was vastly improved from the off. With the rugby being played in the St Francis 22, it was only a matter of time before another Littlehampton score. Another set piece break and this time flyhalf Mills scores in the corner. The conversion missed to make the score 19-7. Littlehampton were straight back into the St Francis 22 and a big effort from forwards resulted in another Littlehampton try, with second row James Ford coming away with the plaudits and the bonus point. Lee Shergold slotted his 1st conversion of the day from the touchline to take the score line to 26-7, and seemingly away from St Francis.
As with the first half however, St Francis refused to give up and ill discipline once again let Littlehampton down, with 2 yellow cards in quick succession. With the teams facing off 13 against 15, a huge defensive effort was needed and a huge defensive effort is what Littlehampton gave. St Francis camped in the Littlehampton 22, but big hits across the board kept them from scoring against 13. The defensive effort culminated with a 6v8 scrum win against the head. One yellow card returned and it was then that St Francis finally broke the Littlehampton wall and crossed for their second try of the afternoon. The conversion was added to make the scoreline 26-14 with 10 to play. With Littlehampton’s other yellow card returning to play, the teams were temporarily even once again, before a St Francis yellow card put the one man advantage in Littlehampton’s favour.
With the clock running down, a penalty was awarded to Littlehampton 40 metres out and Mills gestured towards the posts. Shergold stepped up and cooly slotted the penalty, just inside the post to take the score to 29-14 and take the game well out of St Francis’s reach. With the game in the dying minutes a third yellow card was dished out to Littlehampton but this had very little effect on the game and the final whistle blew.
A deserved win for the boys in black and yellow, but plenty to work on. Despite his stint in the sin bin, a sterling man of the match performance from Toby Redman with his signature massive hits across the park! Littlehampton are back in action next week, travelling away to take on Holbrook. Like us on Facebook for all the latest game and team news!
1. Ben T 2. James K 3. Gary K 4. Toby R 5. Gareth R 6. Sam W 7. Niall C 8. Brian N 9. George J 10. Eliot M (c) 12. Steve G 13. Harry P 14. Mackenzie B 15. Matt A 16. Ben J 17. James F 18. Lee S 19. Tom H 20. Tom H 21. Ricky S 22. Dave P 23. Ron C 24. James A