Uckfield RFC 24 – Crawley RFC 20
Uckfield Rugby FC welcomed Crawley to Hempstead Fields on Saturday for a Sussex One league match.
Uckfield, off the back of three straight wins, started the game really brightly and after some great passing through the backs the young wing George Payne starting only his second senior match crashed through to score out-wide.
Next Lee Evans playing full back was to dance through a Crawley defence that was still in the starting blocks, Charlie Buckland converts and Uckfield lead 12-0 in the first 15 mins.
They could, and maybe should, have been further ahead but poor decisions, final passes and knock-ons stopped them.
Matt Evans received what appeared at first viewing to be a harsh yellow which was to change the game completely.
Poor last ditch defending
It was the boost Crawley, now coming back into the game, needed and within two minutes some poor last ditch defending saw their forwards crash over.
Then, literally with the last play before the break, some casual passing in the Uckfield backs was intercepted and the fast winger ran in the simplest of tries under the posts 12-12 and the large crowd who had enjoyed the first 30 minutes were looking around thinking how did that happen.
Uckfield, back to full strength after the break, were slow out of the blocks, and when a poorly executed Uckfield backs move in their own 22 went wrong it left the Crawley backs the space to run in a simple try.
The Uckfield pack which had shown great strength in dominating the scrum and good lineout got an opportunity to do its stuff close to the Crawley line and Jack Newcombe was able to dab down 17-17.
There was then a passage of play where both sides went close but couldn’t quite get over the line until a silly mistake led to Jake Siggs getting a yellow and giving Crawley a penalty in front of the posts 17-20 and Uckfield playing the last ten minutes needing a try with 14 players.
But this Uckfield side, with five colts from last season, were to work their way up the pitch into the corner and after a serious of penalties, with Crawley surprisingly not losing players to the bin, Uckfield found a hole and Lee Evans scored his second try.
Buckland from out-wide converted 24-20.
Bonus point win
Uckfield will feel they should have secured this match much earlier having been dominant for large parts, but a bonus point win is always welcome.
Special mentions should go to Jack Monks, George Payne, Matt Desouza, Ben Cranfield, all coming into this senior side and contributing richly.
Uckfield go to Ditchling next with some confidence and look forward to its injured, and working, players returning to the squad.