Lewes vs Uckfield

Counties 2 Sussex February 4, 2023 - 14:00
Lewes RFC


Match Report

Saturday saw two old rivals meet again, Lewes and Uckfield. A fixture rescheduled due to frozen pitches, the mud may have thawed, but the rivalry hadn’t!
The tone of the match was set early on with thunderous hits from both Lewes and Uckfield. Great work at the breakdown and a quick turnover gave Uckfield the upper hand early on but handling errors released any pressure Uckfield were hoping to cash in on.
Great footwork and some clever kicking from Oisin McWalter in the back field allowed Uckfield to set foot in the Lewes 22 for the first time in the match. Lewes again were able to break free, not letting Uckfield build any momentum forward. However, Uckfield’s excellent breakdown work proved fruitful with Lewes being turned over on the line of their 22, Steve Hartfield’s strong carry seeing him barge through the Lewes defender’s for Uckfield’s first try, duly converted by Charlie Buckland.
The kick-off saw both teams trading kicks, with Lewes eventually finding themselves in the Uckfield 22 with a lineout. The strong carries of the Lewes forwards tested the defensive line of Uckfield as they continued to apply pressure, but some sloppy handling released the pressure, Uckfield quickly pushing into the opposition half. Lewes held up a strong defense against Uckfield, being worked left and right across the field without conceding until Uckfield were the first to blink, allowing Lewes to kick free and in turn testing the Uckfield defense. Strong carries and accurate passing to the wings allowed Lewes to make in-roads into the Uckfield half but a series of loose catches gave Uckfield a series of easy turns to march Lewes backwards into their own half. The pressure from Uckfield eventually proved rewarding as Joel Andrews pushed through the Lewes line, and with Charlie’s conversion, brought the score up to 14-0.
Lewes were not out of this yet however. With the kick-off they enjoyed a long period of possession, unable to make any distance into the half and a weak scrum and penalties from Uckfield gave Lewes the perfect platform to build on. Following moore strong carries from the Lewes forwards, they were finally able to crack through the Uckfield defensive line for their first try, a well-deserved 7 points with the conversion too. The score was now 14-7.
With the first half nearly over, there was time for one last push from Uckfield, some poor discipline and a strong scrum giving Oisin McWalter the room to run round through the Lewes backs to touch down for Uckfield’s third try and bring about the half-time whistle. The score standing 19-7 looked increasingly in Uckfield’s favour.
As the second half started, it was clear Lewes were not out of it. Revived by the break their defense was strong, cutting Uckfield players down and limiting the effectiveness of their carries. As the phases wound on, Lewes held tight until Uckfield’s discipline conceded a penalty to Lewes allowing them to clear their lines.
Their lines were only to be cleared briefly however as Uckfield came straight back at them and, with a Lewes penalty, were planted on the 5 metre line. A missed clearance kick allowed the Uckfield winger to carry right up to the line, with Tom Booth finishing the move off under the sticks for Uckfield’s 3rd try of the afternoon. With the conversion in the bag, the score was now 26-7.
However, as the old saying goes, Lewes “had not got the memo” and as Uckfield legs began to tire, Lewes were able to push further into the Uckfield half, the penalty count from Uckfield increasing and giving away easy territory to Lewes. The agile Lewes wingers were able to break quickly, darting through a broken Uckfield line up to the Uckfield 22, applying meaningful pressure for the first time since their earlier try.
Lewes were finally able to cash in on the pressure they had built. Spotting a gap on the blindside, they tipped off the base of a ruck, bulldozing over for a try on the wings. The conversion was missed, but the score was now 26-12.
Lewes had their backs up now who, finding space on the wings, were able to quickly return the kick off up to the Uckfield 5 metre line. Working the ball back to the other side, with passes skipping tired Uckfield defenders, they were able to touch down for their third try of the afternoon. This brought the score to 26-17. Was their a twist yet to be had in this match? Lewes sensing an opportunity whilst Uckfield appeared to be clinging to their lead?
Despite some sustained pressure from Uckfield, Lewes were able to turn the ball over and break up the side of the Uckfield line, almost breaking free but for a lucky tap tackle and downing the player before he was able to convert the try. The Uckfield counter-ruck proved a valuable tool yet again, as it had done countless times in this match, the ball quickly spinning wide, a clever interplay between Joel Forward and Sam Haines baiting the tacklers that remained in the way, before a final off-load to Ryan Bate who was able to charge for the line. Alas, it seemed this was not to be Lewes’ day, their hopes of stealing a victory seemingly gone with the conversion as it sailed over the cross-bar, the score settling at 33-17 in Uckfield’s favour.
Credit must go to Lewes, their strong carries and rapid wingers tested Uckfield’s defense and have given them cause for concern going forward but sadly it was not to be Lewes’ day this time round.
Indeed, with captain Charlie Buckland saying after the match “It could have been a game that we lost control of, but the lads stuck at it, worked hard and got the well-deserved win”, it is easy to see that Lewes, at some points in the match, had the upper hand.

Written by Chris Watts

Uckfield RFC vs Lewes RFC 4th Feb 2023


Date Time League Season
February 4, 2023 14:00 Counties 2 Sussex 2022/2023


Lewes RFC


Uckfield 1 XV5433Win


Position PoM YC RC T C P DG

Uckfield 1 XV

# Player Position PoM YC RC T C P DG
1Alfie RichardsonHooker0000000
2Davy ArmstrongProp0000000
3Matt LonghurstProp0000000
4Stephen HartfieldLock0001000
5Tom LightfootLock0000000
6Tom BoothFlanker0001000
7Harvey PrattFlanker0000000
8Guy CornickNumber Eight0000000
9Charlie BucklandCaptain, Scrum-half0000400
10Joel ForwardFly-half0000000
11Kane DrummondCenter0000000
12Ryan BateCenter0001000
13Joel AndrewsWinger0001000
14Tom LyonsFly-half0000000
15Oisin McWalterFly-half1001000
16Colin BradleyHooker0000000
17Alfie MitchellCenter0000000
18Sam HainesWinger0000000
 Total 1005400