Worthing 7's Festival
10 U14's teams from across the county gathered for the end of season Worthing 7's Festival. The format was 2 Pools of 5 with the top 2 going through to a semi-final and final knock out stage. It would be fair to say that Pool 1 was the stronger with Lewes, Crowborough, Horsham 1's, Uckfield and Edenbridge and Pool 2 consisting of Worthing, Horsham 2's, Burgess Hill/Seaford, Crawley and Shoreham.
We made a strong start against Crowborough winning 43-0 before what was something of an upset losing a very tight game against Uckfield 19-20. Uckfield played well and capitalised of a few rare Lewes handling errors to be 2 tries up and despite a late fight back and converting 2 of our 3 tries to be in with a shot of turning the game around but still ended up losing 4 tries to 3.
Whether it was compliancy, having one eye on the next game against Horsham game or not giving Uckfield the respect they we due I'm not sure, in truth probably an element of all 3. Having only lost one game earlier on in 2017 it was an unfamiliar feeling for the squad and with Horsham having beaten Uckfield in an earlier pool game faced potentially being 3rd in our group and not making the knock out stages.
However the squad quickly focused on what needed to be done to rectify the situation and that was to beat Horsham. With 3 teams potentially ending the pool stages on the same number of league points we would then have to hope the points scores and points difference would put us in the top 2 to go through.
We needed have worried as the next game we dominated Horsham 1 winning 43-0 with such control that when Horsham were in possession the defence was so strong in repelling their attacks that they elected to chip over the top as the only means of making any meaningful progress over the gain line.
The final pool game was against an Edenbridge side that although had lost every game at that point possessed some new talented but in-experienced players that I am sure they will develop into a good side next season. They deservedly managed to score a try where Horsham had struggled previously. However the fitness and strength of the Lewes squad meant we ran out 50-5 winners having targeted a big score to ensure qualification to the knock out stages.
Although Horsham 1's, Uckfield and ourselves all ended up on equal points having lost 1 game each we topped the pool on points difference with Uckfield 2nd. This set up a semi-final of Lewes against Horsham B runners up in Pool 2. With Uckfield facing the Winners of Pool 2 Worthing.
Horsham 2's in a Dodgeball inspired Average Joe’s bright yellow kit bolstered due to injury with some of Horsham 1’s was an extremely tense competitive game with an exhibition of great skills in attack and defence from both sides. Over the last few years we have shown how dangerous we can be with ball in hand going forward worth mentioning in both this game and in the pool stages the defence was passionate and herculean at times, probably the differentiator in this game leading to a 22-19 victory for Lewes.
With Uckfield beating Worthing in the other semi it was nicely teed up for a Lewes/Uckfield rematch of in the final. The Lewes Lions were keen to make amends for the earlier game and seemed sharper from the 1st whistle in the final. The boys were determined and dominant from the start and 31-0 up at half time and finished up in the 2nd half 45-5.
So in summary we were well deserved Winners of the Worthing 7’s for a 2nd year in a row.