OLD BOYS BEAT VALIANT LEWES
By DERECK Wade
LEWES 6 OLD WILLIAMSONIANS 22
In gale-force, rain-sodden conditions, Lewes's high penalty count against them, together with a series of unforced errors, meant they came away from this match with nothing to show for their valiant efforts.
The first few minutes saw continued pressure from the home side, who were unlucky not to go ahead after left-winger Seb Roberts looked certain to score in the corner, only to be stopped just short of the line by a high tackle from an OW's defender. The home crowd - and even some of the visitors - assumed Lewes would be awarded a penalty try, but the referee only gave them a penalty instead, which came to nought.
OW's then worked their way back upfield, their heavier pack relishing in the conditions underfoot. With Lewes defending magnificently, they resisted all OW's attempts to score , and indeed on 23 minutes the Sussex side opened the scoring with a penalty on the 22 metre line for offside, which out-side half Jon Pitts kicked over to make it 3 - 0. Two minutes later hooker Tom Hatch was yellow-carded, the extra man advantage enabling OW's to score the first, but unconverted, try of the match on the half-hour through their hooker, Tim Abbott, to go ahead at 3 - 5, which remained the position at the half-time whistle.
The opening session of the second half saw OW's on the ascendant with controlled forward play which denied Lewes possession for long periods. A penalty to OW's on 65 minutes in front of the posts was, however, missed but one minute later the visitors went further ahead at 3 - 12 with a somewhat dubious penalty try following a scrum infringement near Lewes's try line.
With Lewes then running out of front-row forwards due to injuries, the remainder of the match saw uncontested scrums, which enabled the hosts to gain some more ball at last. Only 7 minutes from the end of the match, they pulled back to within losing bonus-point range with a second penalty from Pitts to draw closer at 6 - 12 , but then - as conditions deteriorated and with Lewes visibly tiring after all their efforts - OW's managed to seize 2 last-gasp, unconverted, tries from their second-rower, Joe Cook, and flanker Chris Norris, to run out worthy winners by 6 - 22.
After the match, Lewes's prop-forward Mo Bacha was voted Man-of-the-Match.
In spite of their second successive defeat, due to results elsewhere Lewes retain their mid-table position in the League.
Lewes: Bacha, Hatch, Sayers, Evans, Lowen, W.Shiell, Moule (Capt.), Robinson, Taylor, Pitts, Roberts, Booth, Feltham, Hanley, H. Shiell. (Reps. - Hill, Vigar, Bredin).
On Saturday, Lewes face their greatest challenge for the end of the first half of the season when they entertain top-of-the-table Crowborough in a festive local derby, k.o. 2.00pm. In the corresponding away match, Lewes performed well and only succumbed to a last-minute try which denied them victory, so no doubt this will be a keenly contested encounter.
Before the kick-off, Lewes Veterans are at home to Crowborough Veterans, while the Club's annual Christmas Lunch will be attended by several of the Club's Sponsors and Vice-Presidents.
Lewes 2nd's lost 10 - 19 at home to Heathfield and Waldron's 3rd XV, the hosts' tries being scored by Ben Day and Jo Omar. They are also at home on Saturday, the visitors being East Grinstead.