Hove have always proven to be a tough opposition for our boys, coming away from the games feeling that a score against such a large club was as good as a win given the way the team always pulls together and knuckles down when up against it. Sunday’s game had a feeling something was going to be different about this encounter maybe, that it was being played on home turf or maybe, a more mature mindset, something was in the air.
From the whistle, the play was rapid and assertive, only to be interrupted the first five minutes by an injury to one of our boys. Given the severity of the injury, kudos to the lad for dealing with it in a manner well beyond what might have been expected, a mature head on young shoulders for certain.
Play resumed with the team focussed on the job ahead, and an Uckfield scrum, play resulted in Hove winning a ruck in their 22 and running in a long range try for their 1st of the game. After the restart with a Hove kickoff, Hove were again successful in the ruck to be awarded a 2nd try of the half.
Uckfield’s first came after a convincing run of play. Our restart, both teams had passages of play with some impressive down the line passing, mauls and rucking. Unfortunately for Hove, they eventually concede a penalty on their five yard line which Uckfield use to punch through for their 1st try of the match.
Hove scored their 3rd after winning good possession from the breakdown. The run of play takes Uckfield into Hove’s 15 , straight running takes us just short of the line which the boys ruck over for their 2nd of the match.
Post try and a quick count up from the side lines reveal that post injury, Uckfield had been playing with a man short! Numbers corrected, play resumes with a long Uckfield kick which kept Hove pinned down in their half until the halftime whistle.
Hove restart the 2nd half, Uckfield gather the ball and run it straight back at Hove, winning the ruck and ball out to the left wing for Uckfield’s 3rd! All level, and the excitement form the sidelines was audible. The team remained focussed with a noticeable increase in purpose.
Uckfield restart to Hove, and Hove reply to Uckfield’s previous try with an end to end run to be rewarded with their 4th of the game. Their 5th came after Uckfield lost the scrum which Hove ran in from a ball delivered to the wing.
Uckfield, undeterred by being down by two, kicked off to Hove, well rucked and penalty awarded to our lads. Next, a scrum with our put in which Hove won, kicked deep which is well recovered and a full length run in for an Uckfield 4th.
After the restart, with all chins up, Hove were kicking deep again which was well gathered and taken back deep into opposition territory, incredible support and passing resulted in the leveller, a 5th to Uckfield! All level again.
Given the history of the Hove matches, many would have settled at this late stage in the second half to settle for the draw, but our boys had a different plan.
Uckfield restart, and Hove win the ruck. Uckfield recover possession and play the ball far out to the left and try, Uckfield’s 6th!!
Please blow the whistle ref PLEASE!
Not yet, Hove restarted. Both teams must have been tired, it had been a game played at full throttle, with plenty of imaginative play from both sides. If they were blowing, it didn’t show.
Hove restart, we gather, take the ball forward, ruck, reset, and run in the 7th and final of the game!!
A brilliantly played game by both sides, and extremely unfortunate injury, a result history to defeat, but they did with their trademark stoicism.
A thoroughly well deserved win.
Final score Uckfield 35 – Hove 25.
Match Report by Andrew Langford