Burgess Hill Under 14s vs Brighton Dev Team

Burgess Hill Under 14s travelled to Brighton to play their B team in a scheduled Development team match on Sunday.

However due to illness and availability, the All Blacks travelled with a reduced squad of 14 and due to some A team players being included on the Hill team meant it became a friendly match. Brighton played with 14 so both teams dropped a flanker.

The sun was out and with little wind it was a perfect day for rugby and both teams started brightly with the ball being passed wide and good cover tackling on both sides.

It was Hill who struck first with a well worked try for centre A. Baker. Having driven hard into the Brighton lines, the Hill forwards kept the ball and with some good pick and drives, the ball made its way to A. Baker who powered over. Rogers missed the conversion to make it 0-5 to Hill.

Whilst the All Blacks had some reasonable ball, their rucks were off colour and Brighton kept driving through and creating turn over ball. Nevertheless, Hill maintained enough possession to enable the ball to make its way to the backs where fly half Rogers wove his way through the Brighton defence with a great step and hand off and a good turn of pace. Unfortunately, he missed the extras so it was 0-10 to Hill.

Brighton began to use their turnover ball well and despite some good cover tackling, their pacy winger scooted over for their first score. Again, the conversion missed and it was 5-10.

Approaching the end of the half and the match was evenly balanced and both sides using the ball in open play. Both Hill wingers, Pearce and Lessacher, being given opportunity to show their tackling and attacking skills. In spike of this, it was Brighton who struck back with their winger making inroads through the Hill defensive live and offloading well for the levelling try. No conversion and it’s 10 points a piece.

Not to be outdone, Rogers used some quick ball from the forwards and balanced running to score just before half time. The kicking boots were just not on today, and we finished the half at 10-15 to Hill.

Turning round into the bright sun seemed to wake Hill up. Some very good attacking runs and stronger rucking lead to full back Bennett finding some space and he was through to score under the posts. Bravely putting his hand up to volunteer, scrum half Collingbourne stepped up to take the kick and slotted it between the posts for a 10-22 lead.

The Hill back line was firing well now and A. Baker took a fine arcing line and, using the winger as a decoy, managed to power his way over the line, dragging defenders with him. Collingbourne was not successful with this more difficult kick but the score moved to 10-27.

Hill had the bit between their teeth and both attack and defence looked sharper. Hooker Upton kept his usual tackle count high and added some superb jackling to produce several turn overs. Along with a nippy run down the line this combined to confirm his Forward of the Match performance.

From the extra possession, full back Bennett took the initiative again and blasted down the line to score under the posts. Collingbourne was again successful with the conversion and it was 10-34.

Unfortunately, Bennett aggravated a back injury and had to come off and as Hill were ahead, agreed to play the last 10 mins with 13 vs 14.

This lead to some extra space in the back line and Brighton used it well and manufactured a good score in the corner. Missing the conversion but pulling the score back to 15-34.

Hill responded strongly and drove hard into the Brighton half. Following a penalty, Hill kicked for the corner and created some good field position. The ball off the top of the lineout by Watts was passed to the backs and A. Baker, capping off a great game and Back of the match performance, scored his third try by cutting the angle across the Brighton defence and droving over for the score. The conversion missed this time but the score was 15-39.

The final say was by Brighton who never gave up and played good rugby right to the end. A couple of missed tackles and Brighton again scored out wide. The last kick of the game missed and the final score was 20-39 to Hill.

A good performance by the All Blacks Under 14s but against stronger teams, Hill will need to look after the ball better and ruck lower and harder.

Next week we have a home fixture against Seaford with a meet time of 9.45am and kick off at 11.00am.

J MacAlister, B. Upton, C. Miller, L. Watts, T. Nelson, S. Thompson, H. Baker,
F. Collingbourne, L. Rogers, D. Lessacher, A. Baker, M. Dale, J. Pearce, O. Bennett