INJURY-RAVAGED LEWES SUCCUMB TO HEAVY AWAY DEFEAT
By DERECK Wade
PARK HOUSE 49 LEWES 6
It's an old saying in sport, if not in life, that when things are not going your way, luck tends to desert you - and so it proved for Lewes on Saturday in Kent as they suffered a double-injury to key players with almost the first move of the match, and then quickly losing others -including skipper Sam Furse - before half-time, meaning they spent most of the second half with only 14 players.
The early advantage fell to the hosts as Lewes struggled to re-adjust to their loss of numbers, and it took only a few minutes for their heavier pack of forwards to push towards the line on the right, enabling their No. 6 to score the first try of the match, converted by his No. 10, to open the scoring at 7 - 0.In spite of further injuries, Lewes embarked upon their first meaningful attack into their opponents half on 29 minutes, resulting in Park House's No. 5 being yellow-carded for a high tackle. With this equalising effect, Lewes continued to force their way upfield and were rewarded with a penalty on 27 minutes for offside, which outside-half Dan Billin slotted over to narrow the scores to 7 - 3.
But it took only 1 minute for Park House to restore the differential at 10 -3 with a penalty of their own which their outside half kicked over from 27 metres. It was then somewhat against the run of play when, just before the half-time break, Park Houses' No. 6 plunged over for his second try, converted by No. 10. to finish the half with a 17 -3 advantage.
At this point, Lewes's hardy band of supporters were expecting a fight-back in the second half as Lewes were beginning at last to blend together and had the strong following wind to help them. But his was not to be, as yet more injuries - reducing them to 14 men - and an inordinately high penalty count against them saw the Sussex side completely over-whelmed. Park House scored their third , unconverted try in the first seven minutes from their second-row to go ahead at 22 - 3, only for Lewes to hit back five minutes later with a second Billin penalty to make it 22 - 6.
But then Park House took over as Lewes began to tire from all their defensive efforts, scoring their fourth, bonus-point but unconverted try five minutes later, followed by a push-over, hat-trick try from their flanker, the conversion missing, to pull away at 32 - 6.Park House were now on the rampage as Lewes' game lost its shape, scoring 3 further tries, with one conversion, in the final quarter to run out easy winners by 49 - 6.
To Lewes's credit, they never gave up and, but for their early reduction in players, may have otherwise got something out of a tough away game. As it is, however, this result means that - barring a miracle in their final 3 matches - they are now staring relegation in the face.
With no game on Saturday, Lewes have at least a chance to rest their wounded players and re-group for their next League encounter, home to fourth-placed Folkestone on 23rd. March, k.o 3.00pm.
Lewes: Hill, Moule, Williams, Curl, Vigar, Furse (Capt.), Tudor, Robinson, Rourke, Billin, Shiell, Whiting, Feltham, Hampel, Terry. (Reps., all used: Bacha, Dodgson, Furlong).
Lewes 2nd's home match against Crawley was postponed as the visitors were unable to raise a team.