U14s: Lewes 41 Brighton 5
The U14s first outing in the new Lewes match shirt brought with it several other very welcome firsts. It was second row powerhouse Blake Irlam’s first match for Lewes. Winger Ollie Clarke scored his first Lewes try. And man of the match Brad Anderson clocked up his first Lewes hat trick.
The Brighton team were an imposing looking bunch. As they ran out on to the pitch for kick off one of the Lewes Dad’s wondered if they were playing their Colts! As predicted Brighton played direct and narrow, using their big forwards to try to punch holes up the middle. But Lewes' tackling was ferocious and low and kept Brighton at bay. Lewes' defensive efforts were soon rewarded. The first turnover won was quickly shipped wide and Ollie Clarke finished the move in style, galloping in from the 22 to score.
The Lewes tackling and rucking was very impressive throughout the game and every time they got quick ball wide they threatened to score. Lewes were soon 19-0 up. Brighton rallied in the second half and rumbled over the try line with a rolling maul. The momentum seemed to be turning in Brighton’s favour until an immense tackle from John Weir not only stemmed the tide but turned it. Lewes recycled quickly and Geordie Gwynn skipped over the line. Selfless work at the breakdown by the whole pack, led by Franco Ricci, Alfred Monnery and Eddie Wrench, denied Brighton possession whilst Finley Toghill tackled as if his life depended on it. Lewes soon struck again with some fast-flowing rugby and terrific support work which lead to three more unanswered tries.
Coach Nigel Hastings concluded "We need to keep working on our shape in defence. And some clearance kicks when we are in own 22 might help the coaching team live a little longer. But once again it was another impressive team effort, with the whole squad really playing with and for each other."
Tries: Ollie Clark, Jude Littlewood, Bradleigh Anderson (3) Geordie Gwynn (2)
Conversions: Myles Govus (3)
U16s: Lewes 12 Bognor 41
The U16s travelled to Bognor hoping to repeat the victory at home from last year. The first half seemed quite promising, and with Lewes carrying a number of injuries, the tries from Oisin McWalter and Bill Dean-Gant, finishing the first half 12-17 down felt like Lewes were still very much in the game, particularly as the last couple of encounters with Bognor had been very similar starts.
The second half proved different, with some strong running from Bognor and their heavier pack beginning to exert their strength and size it all proved a little too much. A few too many simple mistakes kept Lewes out of the game and played into Bognor's hands.
On the plus side, there were two very strong performances from Lewes' new players, Rowan Hunt and Blake Parker. Hunt played at full back for most of the game making crucial tackles throughout the game and some good running from deep, with Parker playing out on the wing and chasing the ball on a number of occasions and some good running with ball in hand. Bognor turned out to be a bigger side and a step too far on this occasion. There is certainly plenty to work on over the next few weeks before the next away fixture against Eastbourne in November. Tries: Oisin McWalter, Billy Dean-Gant. Conversion: Oisin McWalter
Colts: Lewes 17-East Grinstead 34
The Colts' first league game of the season was a great release of energy for both sides. With many clubs struggling to field squads, both teams were delighted to bring 16 players. Lewes scored three tries in the first half with captain Tom Rourke interchanging passes with winger Louis Barron to score the first and ferocious and repeated drives by the forwards leading to touchdowns by hooker Nat Smith and second row Jamie Austen. The half-time score was 17-15 as East Grinstead kept in touch with two tries.
As the game went on, Lewes were increasingly penalised for the way they managed rucks and were unable or unwilling to adjust their technique to the referee's satisfaction. This and some knock-ons in promising attacking situations meant they could not add to their score in the second half despite dominating the scrums. East Grinstead took full advantage and reacted quickly to score three tries in the second half, two of which in the last 15 minutes.
Updated 21:07 - 17 Oct 2017 by Peter Barron