The 5th of March saw the U-12’s final league fixture take place.
A home fixture with much to play for, and throughout the game, pride and determination was seen by both teams.
A game played with ferocity straight from the off, both sides knew this was going to be tough!
Uckfield kicked off and instantly put EG under pressure. Being the slightly quicker side to secure ball at the ruck, which turned out to be a scrappy area of the game, and moving ball to their wide threats. Good runs from Theo and Oliver Weller on both wings led to ground gained and EG under pressure.
East Grinstead defended solidly and let nothing through, a huge strength of theirs throughout the game. With Uckfield baring down on the try line a huge try saving tackle from East Grinstead’s MOM held up Uckfield keeping the score at 0-0.
It then fell to EG to display strong running and some superb off-loading to put the pressure back on Uckfield. A move that went the full length of the pitch and resulting in a dot down of the ball, only to be called back for a knock-on much to Uckfield’s relief.
Uckfield again put pressure on the EG defence and finally made the break through, from a good solid scrum Uckfield attacked to the left, moving the ball along the line swiftly finding space for the strong running Oliver Weller to beat defenders and power his way over the line for the first score of the game.
Uckfield didn’t take their foot off the gas at this point again putting pressure on EG.
East Grinstead replied well though with gain line busting running from their midfield putting Uckfield on the back foot. Uckfield held fast, with a sequence of huge defensive tackles from the strong back three. This allowed Uckfield to again put pressure on the ruck with some great turnover ball from Felix, Hugo & Oliver Hawkes.
An unfortunate sequence of free kicks for high tackle infringements were fully taken advantage of by Uckfield’s scrum-half, Leo, with quick taps and good off-loading saw Uckfield again putting pressure on East Grinstead and this led to space created for the quick footed Miller to step his way through the defence and dot down for try number two, 10-0 Uckfield.
Uckfield were buoyant and full of confidence at this point as they went in to half time.
The second half kicked off, with East Grinstead instantly taking the advantage.
Further strong running and solid play defensively, Uckfield were not given an inch to operate.
With what had been a quite open first half, the second was very different, East Grinstead being direct with their running causing Uckfield to step up defensively once more. The defensive line held firm but only for so long as East Grinstead relentlessly carried and carried. Their rewards for good game management and control came with a well taken first try of the match crashing over from short range. 10-5 Uckfield still led.
Again came East Grinstead with Uckfield defending soundly and overturning ball whenever possible. With Uckfield pinned in their half some good work at scrum time saw Felix win ball against the head and first receiver Arthur clearing lines well with the boot.
For Uckfield it then unravelled, for East Grinstead a moment to pounce! Gaps opened up in Uckfield’s defence and East Grinstead’s outside players took the opportunity with conviction moving the ball well and with quick feet they made ground! A swift pass the left of the pitch and, what can only be described as a great run, East Grinstead found the space beat defenders and
scored in the corner. A very taken team try! 10-10
All square with 11 minutes to play!!
Uckfield again had to rely on the big boot of Arthur clearing lines as East Grinstead piled on more pressure. One kick led to a brilliant chase by Hugo and Theo with the East Grinstead player not being allowed any space to attack. This was the moment Uckfield took their chance! A great passage of play moving the ball wide finding space outside for Fullback Will to race to the corner!
A foot race to the line was on, with the sidelines cheering him all the way Will scored in the corner to a huge roar from the crowd – advantage Uckfield 15-10 with 5 to go!
East Grinstead did not stop! Back they came, but for an over-cooked kick going dead, Jacob made the sensible decision – “Scrum back please Sir” Advantage to Uckfield, just!!
More pressure came and with big tackles flying in from both teams Uckfield conceded free kicks giving East Grinstead more chances, then it came, a free kick taken by East Grinstead – their MOM took the ball on and in to what should only be described as a HUGE tackle by scrum-half Leo McGilvery the ball was knocked on, Jacob picked and kicked to what could’ve been row-Z,
The referee, who had a superb game controlling a well fought battle, finally blew for full time, Uckfield took the victory 15-10.
Every single player gave a huge amount on the day, taking knocks getting back up and battling on for a superbly taken team victory.
They moved the ball well using space out wide, tackled hard and worked relentlessly at the breakdown to secure the final league win of the season. All the players should be very proud of themselves after this win.
Match report by Jonathan Fordham