“we were as proud if not prouder of the squad in defeat than we have been in any of our victories this season”
U14s Head Coach, Ben Green
Under 14s Head Coach Ben Green was "as proud if not prouder of the squad in defeat than we have been in any of our victories this season."
Playing away to the Waterfall/League leaders Horsham was always going to be a tough game especially travelling with a squad of 15. Green spoke before the game of needing to play with confidence and commitment and that they did. Whilst there may still be a few technical issues to work on at the breakdown, Lewes' commitment and ferocity meant they were able to run through multiple phases of play using both forwards' crash ball as well as shipping out wide.
Lewes took the lead through Ollie Simonetti’s great finish and ended the first half a deserved 5-0 up. Lewes put a lot of pressure on Horsham's backline in contrast to their previous visit resulting in the hosts knocking on or making mistakes and had Lewes been able to secure the resulting scrum ball coupled with some better decision making in attack, they probably could have scored two or three more tries in the first half when playing downhill.
Horsham came out strongly in the second half and levelled the score 5-5 before going on to score a few more as Lewes became to tire and their hosts used the full complement of subs well. At this point Lewes could have been looking at letting Horsham run away with the game and without the grit and determination of the boys a scoreline of 40 or 50 points to 5 might have been the result.
Instead Lewes defended with passion, took the attack to Horsham and scored a well worked try after multiple phases with Ed King popping up on the blind side against a limited defence which he ran through in his raging-bull style and then displayed the presence of mind to run closer to the posts to ensure Ben Goode could slot over the conversion. At 17-12, Lewes were potentially on their way back into the game.
Unfortunately in the end however the strength of the Horsham bench and the fact that Lewes were playing up the slope in the second half took its toll and they ended up losing 31-12.
Green summed up the game thus: "in rugby there are days when you can feel better having lost to a good side having played well. This can be more rewarding than beating a not so good side having played poorly. Yesterday was one of those days and testament to that was the smiles and laughs in the changing rooms and clubhouse after."
The Under 13s travelled to Pulborough and lost 35-5. Although they were severely depleted by half-term absences, a very determined Lewes team travelled to a cold and sleety Pulborough. Arguably, the score line flattered the hosts in an evenly balanced game in which Lewes played most of the rugby and Pulborough benefited from several breakaway tries by their speedy centres.
The first 10 minutes were all Lewes and they were unlucky not to capitalise on a sustained period of pressure in their 22. Pulborough were lifted by a breakaway try against the run of play and then scored again soon after. A superb team effort finished by Alfred Monnery kept Lewes in the game. Unfortunately a succession of injuries and absence of replacements meant Lewes were always going to struggle in the second half.
Assistant Coach Nigel Hastings said "Lewes should be proud of a huge team effort from the start and the fact that they never gave up. There was some terrific tackling, great support play and fantastic carries, especially by Finley Toghill and John Weir." Jack Billin was outstanding at fly half and was deservedly named man of the match by the Pulborough players. Hastings concluded "On a weekend when Eddie Jones praised England's grit the U13s showed that they also have it in spadefuls."
Unfortunately the Under 15 and 16s' game were cancelled by their opponents due to lack of numbers with the beginning of half-term probably to blame!
Updated 18:06 - 19 Feb 2017 by Peter Barron