On a clear crisp winters day a local derby could be a wonderful example of open running rugby, delicate touches and subtle offloads into space.
After travelling a vast distance and at some points reverting to sail, the Seconds arrived at Newick facing some mildly inclement weather. On a more positive note the New Year also brought some returning players to the squad.
Playing in terrible conditions this game was all going to depend on who wanted to win it the most and keep their discipline. Neither team had a decent size bench so it was going to be 80 minute shifts for the vast majority.
Uckfield opened the scoring with a trademark solid carry from Calum Spanner Fleming who crashed over with 2 defenders hanging off him. This set the style of rugby for the rest of the game. Keep the ball close and run at the opposition.
A rare moment of quick thinking allowed Rumary to quick tap and crash over for Uckfield’s second try. Joshua Fakee converted this with ease.
Newick then responded through their sizeable centre who scored under the posts which they converted.
Uckfield then opted for a penalty kick which Joshua Fakee slotted and kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Newick then struck back after a period of pressure with their centre getting his 2nd try after a powerful run which he dotted down in the corner.
Obviously in these conditions there were going to be a number of ‘knock on’s’ and hence scrums, but after a tricky start, Uckfield ensured they dominated these driving Newick off the ball a number of times disrupting and their game.
The second half started with a lead of 3 to Uckfield with them focused on scoring a minimum of 3 tries in the second half. This was achieved by Fakee continuing to discombobulate Newick’s back line with his kicking and attacking philosophy.
Sustained pressure led to repeated lineout’s in the top hand corner of the pitch on and around Newick’s 5 metre line. Newick fumbled two of theirs in fairly quick succession and both occasions Jamie Hall was on hand to pounce on the ball and slide over to get himself a brace of tries.
Newick’s morale was depleted due to the score and cold conditions this allowed Uckfield to close the game with a final charge and try in the corner from Calum Spanner Fleming minutes from the end.
Comment of the day goes to the Ref who when asked how long left early in the 2nd half replied soggily – “too long….”.
Massive thanks to James Thompson and Craig from Heathfield who both put a solid shift in the front row.
Great also to have Andrew Victor play his first game for Uckfield alongside his brother in law Aaron Patterson also back for his first game this year.
Some great performances Calum Spanner Fleming and Ryan Bate had a number of powerful carries as did Harvey Pratt, Andrew Statham got himself round the park. Harry Smith as ever was quick thinking and got rewarded with a few minutes at 10 to showcase his wares in what now resembled a swamp. A returning Owain Summers had some solid inputs and proved very versatile covering centre, flanker and a short cameo at tight-head. Despite the conditions Stephen Hall delivered quick ball from 9 and looked sharp if a little damp.
However Joshua Fakee with quick feet and great tactical kicking controlled the game really well despite playing out of position at 10 so he earns Man of the Match. He also toughed it out after taking a few significant rib-ticklers.
DOD goes to Ethan Baldwin who decided to fully commit to a high ball and flew purposefully into the air at least 2 metres ahead of where the ball landed. (He rectified his error by scrabbling back and falling on the ball but the damage was done.)
Match Report – Bard of Buxted