Sunday saw the Acorns host Old Caterhamians RFC (Old Cats) for the next instalment in the Warrior League. Coming off the back of a win to Chichester RFC, Uckfield were fired up and ready to take on Old Cats from the off. They wasted no time, seizing a loose ball, working it wide it was Annie Lyons that opened the scoring, darting down the line, shrugging off tackles as she ran half the pitch to touch down. Rubi Batton opening the kicking book in good form too shortly after, converting from the Tee.
The Old Cats came back with gusto, frustrated at having let through an easy try, they kicked deep, and, with a good chase and fast offloads, they were in the Uckfield 22 working the ball across the pitch. The Acorn defence held strong for a long period but eventually Uckfield conceded a penalty and the Old Cats worked it into the space, almost scoring a try but the deadball line came to fast and gave Uckfield a lucky escape with a 22-dropout.
The ensuing drop out gave Old Cats another chance to attack the Uckfield lines, threatening to break through with fast passes and quick rucking, but Uckfield won the lineout, kicking deep and relieving the pressure for the time being. Old Cats would prove to be a tough opponent, returning multiple times over the following period, threatening to break through with their fast wingers, Uckfield saved only by some brave tackles, excellent lineout steals and perserverence.
An Old Cats penalty allowed Uckfield to clear their lines into the opposition half, followed by an excellent lineout and phase play from Uckfield it resulted in Ruby Wyatt scoring a try, diving across the line. Rubi Batton following with an excellent conversion from afar.
Some loose passing from Uckfield allowed Old Cats to win posession and pressure the Uckfield lines again, Uckfield holding strong and not allowing Old Cats to break through, even at one point fighting them back from inches away from the line, but Uckfield’s handling let them down and a scrum on the 5 metre line was making the onlookers nervous. However, a penalty for an early push from the Old Cats pack gave Uckfield a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
The work rate from Uckfield at the breakdown, loose passing and some handling errors was becoming Uckfield’s undoing, with a long period spent by Old Cats in the Uckfield 22, with Uckfield under a lot of pressure from the Old Cats forwards. A penalty from Old Cats allowed Uckfield to clear their lines again though resulting in a scrum on the Old cats 10metre line. The backs working the ball out wide, with Jemima scoring the nicely worked try.
As the first half drew to a close, the score stood at 19-0 in Uckfield’s favour.
The second half started in much the same way as the first. From the Old Cats kick-off, Uckfield were able to work the ball wide through a few phases to the wings giving Annie the chance to run the ball through to score her second try of the match directly under the posts.
The restart followed a similar pattern to the first half, with Old Cats pushing high up into the Uckfield 22, Uckfield conceding penalties left Old Cats on the Uckfield 5 metre line with a scrum. A fantastic set piece from Old Cats resulted in a well-deserved try. The score now at 24-5 to Uckfield, but Old Cats looking like they were in the ascendancy.
The restart from Uckfield this time, taken well by Old Cats was brought through the line, allowing them to make easy metres before Uckfield conceded a penalty. This allowed Old Cats even deeper into their half. Uckfield’s great breakdown work quickly earned a turnover, kicking for territory down the pitch. An excellent chase from Uckfield meant an easy turnover and recovery down the pitch, with a quick pick-and-go leaving Old Cats line exposed, Annie was able to break through again for another try under the posts with Rubi successfully converting again. With the added conversion from Rubi Batton, the score sat at 31-5 to the Acorns.
Old Cats down, but not out, came roaring back, aided by multiple penalties from Uckfield they were deep in the Uckfield half, camping in the 22 for an extended period. Determined not to return with no points, they earnt another penalty and made it count, touching down for a try in the wings. The score is now 31-10, would there be a final twist?
Alas, it wasn’t to be, with tiring legs on both teams, Uckfield started pushing forwards again, with a scrum just outside the Old Cats 22, the Acorns rushed up, with the backs ripping the ball, it was now to Heather to earn Uckfield’s final try of the match right under the posts again. With Rubi’s added conversion, the final score sat at 38-10.
The phrase “the score doesn’t reflect the game” is perfectly suited to this match, Uckfield were tested in defence by Old Cats, spending most of their time in their own half, the score could have been very different! Uckfield would like to extend their thanks to Old Cats for attending and playing and look forward to the return leg!
The Acorns are away to Portsmouth RFC in the next round of the Women’s Junior Cup