In the last game of the regular season before the league split, Uckfield hosted an improving Plumpton side. Uckfield RFC1s 52 V Plumpton RFC 1s 17
The Acorns, while missing more than half a dozen first team regulars due to injuries and unavailability, were keen to repeat the result from the away fixture on the opening day of the season back in September.
With the rain having stopped and the sun creeping out, Uckfield kicked off looking to make an immediate impact. While trying hard to play wide, expansive rugby, the changes to the Acorns team led to a number of mistakes and unforced errors.
In addition, Uckfield were making a number of careless decisions resulting in a high number of penalties being given away against Uckfield. This eventually led to Plumpton taking the first points of the game after 10 minutes, kicking a penalty from 30 meters out. The Plumpton score seem to be the wake up call Uckfield needed and they immediately increased the pace and intensity of play.
Uckfield’s first score came just a few minutes later, after a succession of penalties against Plumpton due to back chat, back three stalwart, Lee Evans, standing in at Fly-Half took the penalty quickly, off loading to younger brother Matthew Evans before he returned the pass to Lee who danced over. The conversion was missed. 5 minutes later, quick ball along the back line reached speedy winger, Greg Chappell who was able to beat his opposite number and race in for Uckfield’s second score. The extras were added by stand-in kicker, inside centre, Zak Mellett. Mellett was to go on and get 6 from 8 conversions a remarkable effort seeing it was the first time he had kicked at senior level.
Plumpton scored a breakaway try 7 minutes later, attacking wide to the right. Uckfield were not expecting the width and the Plumpton fall back raced over, much to the delight of the whole Plumpton team and their travelling supporters.
Uckfield wanted to put the game out of reach, some strong words under the posts lead to 10 minutes of quality rugby being played by the hosts, resulting in four tries and ultimately 26 unanswered points. The first came from a scrum on the Plumpton 22, Matt Evans scooped up from the base and was able to beat the blind side defence to score in the corner. This was followed by Captain Steve Hartfield, crashing over from 10 meters out following a number of attacks in the Plumpton 22. Next was M Evans again, this time breaking 2 tackle around a ruck on the 10 meter line, eventually scoring in the corner. The last try of the half, saw M Evans completing a 10 minute hat trick, this time from 1 meter out following outstanding close quarter work from the whole pack.
Man of the match Matt was excellent this week and was clearly missed against Burgess Hill the previous week.
ALL IMAGES by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)