SPIRITED LEWES UNABLE TO OVERCOME HIGH-FLIERS FOLKSTONE
By DERECK Wade
LEWES 14 FOLKESTONE 26
A great game in front of a large and vociferous crowd but, in spite of one their best performances in weeks (especially from their pack of forwards), Lewes were unable to topple their opponents who now sit in third place in the League. A well-deserved half-time lead of 14 - 12 was not enough to prevent Folkestone from dominating the second half for a well-earned bonus-point victory. This result now condemns Lewes to relegation to Sussex League 1 next season.
Although the early pressure came from the visitors, it was Lewes who opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a flowing attack from inside their own half, ending with full-back Billy Shiell touching down for a try, converted by outside-half Dan Billin, to put 7 - 0 on the scoreboard. Then, on 19 minutes, Lewes's centre Jordan Whiting was yellow-carded for tripping, and Folkestone took advantage of the extra man some 4 minutes later as their scrum-half Callum Grey went over for an unconverted try to narrow the gap to 7 - 5.
Their second try followed only 3 minutes later with a try from second-row Rod Godden which Grey converted to see his side take the lead at 7 - 12. But Lewes hit back on 34 minutes with hooker Shrek Wakely's try under the posts, Billin kicking the extras, to re-take the lead at 14 - 12. Just before the half-time break, Lewes's scrum-half Owen Jones was sent to the sin-bin for fighting, followed almost immediately by one of Folkestone's flankers.
In spite of reduced numbers, Folkestone went onto the attack straight from start of the second half and dominated possession and territory for several minutes, but Lewes's defence held out. However, with their next attacking move poor tackling in midfield let the visitor's full-back, Allan Tolman, burst through the centre for a try under the posts, Grey kicking the conversion, to pull away at 14 - 19. On the hour, Lewes were once again reduced in numbers when skipper Eliot Moule was yellow-carded for not retreating 10 metres from a penalty, so it was not surprising that only 3 minutes later Folkestone scored their fourth, bonus-point try by Tolman, the conversion seeing them end the match winners by 14 - 26.
All-in-all, another plucky performance from Lewes who deserved more from this keenly-contested encounter, but were mainly undone by the number of yellow cards and an unseemingly high penalty count which undoubtedly upset their rhythm at crucial stages of the match.
Lewes: Hill, Wakely, Williams, Lowen, Omar, Moule (Capt.), Melloni, Robinson, Jones, Billin, Rourke, Whiting, Quinn, Feltham, Shiell. (Reps., all used - Cowling, Furse, Hampel).
(On Saturday, Lewes make the difficult trip away to Old Williamsonians, in deepest Kent, k.o. 3.00pm).
The game was preceded by the annual visit of former Lewes stalwart, Dave Harris, and his Lifeboat crews, who walked over the Downs from Brighton to attend the pre-match Lunch. Some 60 guests and visitors enjoyed a hearty meal, followed by an Auction which raised over £500 for charitable and Club causes.
Lewes 2nd's were away against Heathfield and Waldron 3's, losing 29 -12, their points coming via tries from Ryan Byrne and Tom Petty, with one conversion from George Tibble.
On Friday evening, the Club held is Annual Volunteers' Awards Dinner, where the following - nominated by coaches, team managers and parents - were handed their Certificates by Club Chairman Nick Page: