Match report – Sat 8th April, Crawley 1’s vs Burgess Hill 1’s
Author: Routy McRoutface
Last Saturday the Sussex All Blacks travelled to Crawley RFC in their final league game of the season.
The All Blacks needed a 4 try bonus point win and for Uckfield to lose away to Horsham 2’s to secure a play off spot.
This was going to be no mean task against league champions Crawley who up until the last 4 weeks had only lost once in all competitions this season.
The All Blacks started slowly against the champions elect and were a try down within 3 minutes as the Crawley backline showed their attacking intent and their winger scored an unconverted try in the corner.
This score woke up the men in black and following a tirade into the Crawley half they were awarded a penalty that was kicked for the corner. At the lineout prop Tim Daniel took the ball in the middle of the lineout and a maul ensued. The black pack rumbled on and tight head prop Paul Hasib broke off the back like a piggy escaping a red kneck hoedown and drove over two would be defenders to score. Fly half Owain Jenkins (OJ) kept up his recent form and missed the extras from wideout 5-5.
The black pack were now in the ascendency with the back row of Eddie Chekera, Andy Mackay and Dave Wattam carrying and off loading well. Following another excursion into the Crawley 22, the All Blacks were once more awarded a penalty. OJ attacked quickly and tapped and ran at offside defenders before burrowing over in the corner like an Easter Bunny for the score. He once more donned the blind fold whilst attempting the conversion, 5-10.
Hasib was certain he had added a rare second try minutes later as he drove over the line like a pig sniffing for truffles however the ball was ajudged to be held up.
The All Blacks were now controlling all the territory and possession stats. All Crawley could do in reply was kick long. Luckily for the All Blacks hot stepping full back George Yeates and flying Fijian John Rainima were only happy to run the ball back with interest.
One such kick down field saw Yeates step, dummy, fend and dance round 4 defenders like a young Darcey Bussell before passing over the defence to hooker Tony Cella who has a habit of hanging out on the wing (and street corners) where he scored in the corner. OJ narrowly missed the extras, 5-15.
From the kick off, the All Blacks knocked on awarding a scrum to Crawley. At the scrum the Crawley backline showed their skill once more as their classy inside centre ran a great line and sprinted in for a converted try from 40 metres to show their danger even when playing off scraps, 12-15. OJ and Sayers blamed Moses for their parting to let him in.
The All Blacks once more pushed for another score. After another break by grizzled second rows Adam Rezazadeh and Russ Sailosi, the ball was knocked on near the line.
At the Crawley scrum the ball was passed to the Crawley fly half who went to clear his lines. As he was about to kick, Chekera came of his flank like an exocet missile knocking the Crawley fly half back in time. Whilst the time space continuum reset itself everyone winced at the hit. OJ then decided it would be a good idea to pick the ball up and score. OJ finally added some extras 12-22.
Crawley ended the half with a penalty to go in 15-22 down.
Crawley came out in the second half like the Young Guns they are with all guns blazing.
A break by their powerful northern second row in midfield resulted in quick ball that was passed down the wing for their winger to squeeze in the corner for the unconverted score 20-22.
The All Blacks brought on 1st team captain Ben “happy” Dewey at hooker and 1st team vice captain Sam “Artful Dodger” David at scrum half at this point.
Crawley were now in control of the game and following a poor kick chase on 60 minutes (the chase resembled a zombie chase from the Walking Dead) the Crawley centre jogged in under the posts for the converted score 27-22.
The large Crawley crowd now raised their troops to kick on. The All Blacks however dug deep and showed their experience that has not seen them lose a league game since October.
David was now controlling the breakdown passing out to OJ and his centre pairing of Jordan Sayers and Dave Daly who were making good ground with ball in hand.
During this period Crawley made 3 high tackles the 3rd of which was awarded a yellow card. OJ miraculously added the penalty to add to Crawley’s pain 27-25.
The All Blacks smelt blood and they continued to claw their way up the pitch. After another break in midfield once more a yellow card was awarded for another high tackle as Crawley began to buckle under he heat and pressure.
At the lineout the ball was driven on and crashed up by Sayers. At the ruck, Sailosi realised there was no one in front of him and picked up and sprinted in with ball in one hand to score in the corner. OJ resumed form and missed the extras with 3 minutes left to play, 27-30.
The All Blacks played out the last 3 minutes controlling possession like a spoilt kid not sharing his ball to take the win.
The Ridgeview Wine Estate man of the match went to Paul Hasib for his tireless work at the heart of the black pack in his 50th year…..
Despite the 5 point win, unfortunately results did not go the All Blacks way elsewhere as they finished 3rd, 2 points behind Uckfield who earned the play off promotion spot.
The All Blacks can be proud of their second half of the season form that has seen them win every game earning a 4 try bonus point in all but one game. In turn they will rue their form in October with 3 losses as a result of player unavailability.
With a Sussex Cup final on the 27th May they still have a chance to end their season on a real high.
|April 8, 2017||3:00 pm||Harvey's of Sussex 1||2016-2017|