1st XV Vs Eastbourne match report Saturday 8th December away.
Last Saturday the Sussex All Blacks travelled to Eastbourne in a double header as a league and quarter final Sussex Shield game.
The All Blacks narrowly beat Eastbourne at home earlier in the season and knew the reigning Sussex Shield champions who had not lost at home all season would be very tough to beat.
The conditions were perfect for ducks with sideways rain and wind down on the south coast.
With a slight delay due to the kit being left behind the All Blacks hurriedly made the field before it was dark.
The opening 10 minutes were error strewn by both teams due to the conditions with knock ons and over zealous kicks spoiling play.
Eastbourne then found their rythmn and began to throw the ball around often forcing a pass in the monsoon which they ultimately dropped. During this period the All Blacks showed great defence lead by centre Jordan Sayers, scrum half Bone Matemosi and supported by flankers Joe Turner and Adam Rez.
The one way pressure by Bourne lead to a penalty which they converted to go 3-0 up
The All Blacks came back at men from Hampden park and using their pack clawed their way up the park. Props Paul Hasib and Stuff Cooper were getting through a ton of work (truffle snuffling) supported by the back row of Turner, Rez and No.8 and captain Dave Wattam.
Eastbourne in return gave away penalties. Up stepped full back Alex Bone on two occasions in now biblical conditions and slotted 2 kicks whilst looking into the eye of the storm.
At half time the All Blacks looked forlorn despite being 3-6 up. Head coach Owain Jenkins reminded them they had just played 40 minutes into the wind and rain and that in the second half they had the advantage.
The All Blacks came out in the second half and began to play some rugby with Oli Lewis pulling the strings at fly half and Sayers and Joe Priddle carrying well in the centres. On the wing Loz Daraio was also getting some ball. On the other wing the boy from Brazil was a spectator.
After 10 minutes of pressure the All Blacks won a penalty 25 metres out near the far left touchline. Alex Bone pointed to the sticks confidently and slotted the kick to extend the All Blacks lead to 3-9.
The final 30 minutes of the half witnessed some of the finest defence the All Blacks had ever produced. Eastbourne spent 2 periods of 5-7 minutes solidly in the All Blacks 22 bit could not break down the men in blacks defence. Second rows Mike Woodrow and Shane Barker were punishing anyone who picked up at the ruck. Sayers and Matemosi now in the centres were forming a blanket wrapping up anyone who entered their realm. Hooker Jon Phillpot was his usual Artful Dodger self stealing the ball from unsuspecting Bourne players.
With the clock in the red, Bourne continued to knock at the door and once more a tackle in midfield lead to their prop spilling the ball and ending the game.
This was a huge win for the Sussex All Blacks. On the road, against the current Sussex Shield holders who had not lost at home all season and with a number of 2nd team players stepping up.
The Ridgeview Wine Estate Man of the Match winning a bottle of the 2018 World’s Best Wine Producer’s fizz was full back Alex Bone whose goal kicking in the conditions was second to none.
Next week the All Blacks are in action at home Vs Seaford KO 2pm where they will be looking for revenge for the 21-20 loss earlier in the season.