“The tackling was far better than last week and it was particularly pleasing to see how much the rucking game had improved having worked hard on it at midweek training.”
U14s Coach Nigel Hastings
Minis at the Hastings Festival
Coaching in the minis is clearly working as the Under 7/8/9/10/11s all performed well at the Hastings Festival. Nick Summers' U11s led the charge for Lewes with four wins while not conceding any tries and scoring 17 so a obviously a rock-solid defence on which to build their game. The U10s managed to win all their games and, more importantly for coach Aroop Tanna, "the players demonstrated their learning and understanding of the contested breakdown with devastating effect." Rob Moore's U7s came away with two wins, one draw (which he reckons they should have won) and a loss. Overall the players did brilliantly in their first festival.
U13s Lewes 15-Brighton 35
This was Lewes' first full-on 25 minute each way match against opposition and, as coach Bob Lockyer says, "in true Lewes fashion we thought we would make it tough on ourselves by playing arguably one of the best squads in the county!" Brighton effectively brought two teams (they have an 'A' and 'Development' team in the competition) whereas Lewes fielded just 19 players including some of their newest recruits. But Lockyer "saw commitment across the field with players old and new showing willingness to dig deep and keep on running for the full 50 minutes."
The first half was against Brighton A squad who quickly scored two easy tries whilst Lewes were trying to find their feet, but they picked themselves up and got back into the game. The eventual score of 0-25 at half-time was probably a fair reflection of Brighton's tenacity at the breakdown coupled with good support play in attack. But Lewes had made them work hard for the victory, a fact agreed by their coaches and the hosts had made some spectacular try-saving tackles.
The second half saw Brighton bring on their development team who, despite the billing as second string, were no slouches at the game. Lewes scored two good tries but as they tired, Brighton's fresh legs enabled them to find the space out wide to draw the game level. However Lewes again showed great spirit and kept battling away to be eventually rewarded with a final try just before the whistle.
U14s: Eastbourne 7 Lewes 57
An injury hit U14s travelled to a wet and windy Eastbourne for their first away game of the season. The home team, buoyed by their recent strong showing against Crowborough, started well. But a patient Lewes side went through the phases and soon dented Eastbourne’s confidence with a well-worked try that went through many Lewes hands. Some impressive passing and support play led to two more tries for Lewes, although they then gifted Eastbourne a score under the posts with an over-ambitious attempt to run from behind their own try line. Thankfully this was only a momentary glitch and Lewes went on to score six more unanswered tries.
The back row, Alfred Monnery, Geordie Gwynn and John Weir, were rampant in both defence and attack. Henry Anstee-Moore had another terrific match at 10. Bradleigh Anderson and Finley Toghill combined very effectively again at centre. Man of the Match Jude Littlewood capped a composed performance with a brilliant try-saving tackle towards the end. Eddie Wrench carried, tackled and tidied with ruthless efficiency. And second row Myles Govus slotted six out of nine conversions like a budding John Eales.
But this really was a team performance, with every player making strong contributions in both attack and defence. Coach Nigel Hastings concluded "The tackling was far better than last week and it was particularly pleasing to see how much the rucking game had improved having worked hard on it at midweek training. It was another very positive step in the right direction."
Tries: Geordie Gwynn (4), Bradleigh Anderson (2), John Weir (2), Alex Brydon. Conversions: Myles Govus (6)
U15s - Lewes 5-Cavaliers 38
Lewes (pictured) started slowly and gifted the Cavaliers 12 points in the first five minutes. However, once the hosts got into the game, they showed in parts what they are capable of. The lineout functioned well, the scrum was very competitive and, although shoved back on occasions, still secured Lewes' own ball under pressure. They could and probably should have scored in the first half but a knock-on here and there and what would be an Achilles heel all game failed to secure the ball at the breakdown.
See Phil Goode's photos of the game here>>
The Lewes players showed tremendous effort and put the Cavaliers' backs under pressure in attack and caused them to fail to convert a number of opportunities through some fantastic cover tackles. Throughout the game Lewes' commitment and determination in the tackling was superb and they had plenty of opportunities to do it! The main difference between the sides was at the breakdown. Lewes did not get enough players to the ball carrier early enough and so at best secured slow, scrappy ball or too many times were counter rucked off.
Head Coach Ben Green concluded that "if we don’t play the better sides we won’t learn what we need to improve and challenge the team as a squad and as individuals to get better. We know the areas we still need to work on and will adapt or coaching to target these areas."
Updated 21:19 - 9 Oct 2017 by Peter Barron