Rugby – a return to winning ways for the Acorns

Uckfield RFC1s 27 V Burgess Hill RFC 1s 13

Uckfield welcomed Burgess Hill to Hempstead Field looking to make amends for their first defeat of the season, at the start of the month. Uckfield made a number of changes to the side that beat Plumpton two weeks ago and were eager to build momentum moving into the final 6 games of the season writes Gordon Buckland

The Acorns were aware they needed to make a strong start, but found it difficult to get possession for the opening minutes of the game. The Burgess Hill forwards kept hold of the ball well, running strong short lines into the tight Uckfield defence. The pressure eventually led to an off-side offence against Uckfield, allowing the visitors a penalty 3 points down after just 5 minutes.

From the restart, Uckfield finally managed to get hold of the ball and began to play. 3 minutes later, Uckfield Fly-Half, Charlie Buckland landed a penalty into a strong wind. This woke Uckfield up and they started playing much more rugby and controlled the game well. They had a number of try scoring chances which didn’t quite go to hand in the difficult weather conditions. On 25 minutes, Uckfield had a line out on the Burgess Hill 22, a clean take at the front from second row, Harry Harper-Dowe and a dynamic drive from the forward pack lead to an impressive drive, leaving Davy Armstrong to crash over. The conversion was missed.

Uckfield managed to score once more before half time, a strong counter attack led to Matt Evans turning the ball over and off loading to speedy winger Gregg Chappell to score on the stroke of half time.

As the second half began, the rain stopped and wind slowed, allowing both sides to play more rugby. After 9 minutes, Burgess Hill were awarded a penalty making the score 13-6 after 50 minutes. At this point, Uckfield began to set up the attacking rugby the coach wanted, putting the opposition under more pressure, Captain Steve Hartfield, centre Zak Mallett and Harper-Dowe began making excellent yards with the ball in hand. The game once again was being controlled well by half backs, Jack Newcome and Buckland.

On 64 minutes, after a number of phases by the forwards, the back line found some space in the Burgess Hill 22, allowing veteran winger, Lee Evans enough space to race over for the Acorns third try. The extras were added by Buckland. With a bonus point in sight Uckfield immediately attacked again from the restart, and when they were 15 meters from the Burgess Hill line, M Evans managed to put brother Lee into space to score the games 4th try of the match and completed the bonus point victory for Uckfield.
Burgess Hill did manage to score a consolation try in the final 10 minutes of the game, they were a great example of a club eager to play as much rugby as possible, as well as changing the game plan when required.

Final score 27-13 to Uckfield.

Stock IMAGE by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)