Rugby action returns to Stanley Turner Ground - three times over

Lewes RFC’s teams have swung back into action after the festive break, writes Paul Nicholl.

Lewes Women's seconds take on Jersey Reds
Lewes Women's seconds take on Jersey Reds

Lewes RFC’s teams have swung back into action after the festive break.

It was a busy day at the Stanley Turner as the 1st XV played East Grinstead, the 2nd XV took on Hellingly while the women hosted Jersey.

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The latter two games were won, but the unfortunate 1st XV were hampered by morning withdrawals from two players and then proceeded to lose five more players through injury, finishing the game with 13 men.

The Lewes men take on East Grinstead

Lewes had the better of the first half, scoring two tries through Charlie Moran and Cian Furlong, with a conversion by Ben Poole.

But East Grinstead had already opened the scoring with a goal and it was 12-7 at half time.

It had been a brilliant first half display by Lewes – their best of the season, according to one player. However, in the final moments of the half two key players were forced out of the match by injuries, and Lewes’ fortunes in this game were dealt a hammer blow.

East Grinstead therefore came into the ascendancy against a weakened Lewes, but still found the stubborn home defence hard to break through.

When they were able to take the lead, it was through a succession of three penalty goals that eased them away at 12-16. A fourth penalty goal was to follow, but not until a try had been scored as a gap in the Lewes defence was exploited.

At 12-24, there was yet another injury, and after a further East Grinstead goal, Lewes were reduced to 13 men after two more players were forced off.

Brave Lewes continued to fight back and East Grinstead had to put in a hard defensive shift.

Eventually they escaped their 22, and in the last play of the match they managed a further try against doughty Lewes to make the final score 12-36.

Meanwhile the 2nd XV were similarly understrength, but were determined to avenge a defeat in the first match of the season against Hellingly.

The scoring began early with Dan Humphrey bagging the first of his two tries within five minutes. The latest addition to the team, Gerrard Basson, then scored his first try of the season.

Hellingly closed the half with a try of their own, bringing the scores to 10-5.

The second half began much like the first, with Lewes being the first to score with another quick try, this time by Nick Thompson.

Lewes’ big man Ed King then went on a rampage before dropping down over the line. The tide began to turn as Lewes let Hellingly in with a converted try.

But it was Lewes with the final say as Dan Humphrey bagged his second of the day, with the slickest assist from scrum half Kevin Mann, who then handily converted to finish the game at 29-12.

The third game was the most significant of the three, for the women’s team have been through a very difficult time this season.

But with the help of guest players from Seaford, Uckfield and Burgess Hill they were able to create a Barbarian team to take on Jersey, who, happily, lent two players of their own in order to get a full XV-a-side game.

Despite brand new teammates, spirits were high and blood pumping, and before too long, after some good hands opening gaps in the defence, Laura Turpin (Jersey Reds) managed to break through and outpace her usual team mates to score a try under the posts for Lewes.

Jersey returned the pressure fiercely and before too long managed to even the score with a break away try in the corner to make it 5-5.

From a home lineout, Nadine Fox (Seaford) caught the ball at the back, and bust through to score under the posts. With the conversion Lewes were in the lead at 12-5.

Heading into the final quarter Lewes were determined to hold on to their lead.

With the clock running lower, and a further penalty conceded in Jersey’s own 22 in a central position, Lewes took the kick. With a beautiful boot, Millie Tarran (Seaford) consolidated Lewes’ lead with the extra 3 points. With no further scoring, Lewes Barbarians took the hard-earned win at 15-5.