Sussex Shepherd Neame Leagues – Sussex Division 2 (Canterbury Jack)
Newick RFC 1s 24 v Pulborough RFC 2s 15 (adjusted to 24 – 5)
The opposite fixture earlier in the season proved a tough game which Newick won and with Pulborough 2nd in the league it was sure to be a tough afternoon.
Returning from the coin toss Daniel Kerwood informed the in-form Newick pack that Pulborough had come without a front row and as such the scrums were uncontested and 10 points were to be removed from Pulboroughs score at the end of the game. This proved problematic for Newick who put a lot of emphasis on their scrummaging prowess to expose weakness and instead faced a very young and very fit side that clearly wanted to avoid contact.
With captain Daniel Kerwood leading from the front Newick carried hard which led to an early try for the ever improving Liam Russ. With the uncontested scrums Newick were stumped and had to come up with a Plan B to break down the opposition.
An excellent blindside break from Joel Franklin and a delicate offload saw club captain John Calway beat 2 defenders to score a well worked try in the corner. There were some brilliant hits from the Newick side with one huge tackle from David Woods leaving the opposition player on the floor for a good 5 minute “rest”. The tempo of the game was taking it’s toll which saw Tom McParland leave the pitch after just 5 minutes and Liam Russ a short while later to be replaced by James Waylett and Dean Watson respectively.
A try and a penalty from Pulborough saw Newick up 12-8 at half time. The halftime talk was clear, Newick needed to go “back to basics” and carry hard.
In a less than ideal start to the 2nd half Pulborough scored a converted try which saw Newick behind for the first time in the match 12-15.
It was clear Newick needed to force a change and this happened with the introduction of player/coach Ben Woods who wanted to go back to route one rugby.
A great touch finder from Jordan Whiting led to a lineout 30m from the Pulborough line. The lineout functioned well and Ben Woods broke off the back of the maul and proceeded to steam roll his way over the opposition scrum half. This was the spark that Newick needed and produced one of the tries of the season as after several heavy carries and big clearouts George Russell danced his way through the defensive line and touched down under the posts, converted by Jordan Whiting.
With time closing and the score at 19-15 in Newicks favour the team wanted to hunt for the killer bonus point score. Huge carries from the entire backline and the Newick pack now clearing well it seemed inevitable. The Newick pack drove hard and Jonathan Weeks fed the ball to James Ingram who crossed the line.
The final score was 24-15 in Newicks favour, which is recorded as 24-5 once the 10 points are deducted for the front row infringement.
A great effort from the entire team and a well earned victory against the 2nd placed team in the league.