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Men’s 1st team match report. Sat 17/11 away to Ditchling.

Last Saturday the Sussex All Blacks travelled to local rivals Ditchling in the league.

Having narrowly lost their last 3 games the All Blacks were keen to get back to winning ways but we’re aware that Ditch had hit a purple patch of late.

The All Blacks came out of the blocks playing all the rugby using their pack to gain good ball before the backs looked to move the ball around. Scrum half Dave Daly was probing well with his boot and flanker James Brown was carrying well.

Ditchling’s defence stood strong throughout however it was obvious to all a score would come soon.

A simple move in the backs saw centre Jordan Sayers power towards the line where he was brought down metres short. A series of pick and drives saw prop Lee Collingbourne crash over under the posts for the score. Full back Alex Bone put on his blindfold and span round 10 times to miss the conversion, 0-5.

Ditchling came back at the men in black at this point and using their powerful back row made good ground before releasing their pacey half back pairing. A series of forward drives metres from the All Blacks line was turned over by Collingbourne before the ball was cleared.

The All Blacks ended the half once more in control and a half break by fly half Oli Lewis was off loaded to the ever present Brown who showed a clean pair of heels to dot down for the score, Bone converted this effort, 0-12.

Just before halftime prop Paul Hasib left the field with an eye injury sustained by poking himself in the eye with the rugby ball. Prop Kyle Knowles took his place on the field. In honour of Hasib’s injury players showed their solidarity with their own #prayforhasib pictures.

At half time all the talk was on keeping control of the game and the lead would build.

The All Blacks came out of the blocks even faster in the second half. Teenage Hooker Frankie Whittington was getting through a tone of work supported by flankers Brown and Jamie Dimelow. Even Paul Hasib, now back on, was truffle snuffling and making ground with ball in hand.

After a series of powerful forward drives the backs showed they can play a bit to and a flowing move involving Lewis, Bone, Loz “the Count” “Daraio and centres Sayers and Luke Rokosau, saw Sayers straighten and run in for the score. Bone converted this try to extend the score, 0-19.

Lewis was next on the score sheet after another forward bust that saw Ashley Heward and Brown combine well, Lewis was on hand to receive the offload and crash over. Bone hit the post with his conversion attempt, 0-24.

The rout continued with backs and forward showing great hands, fitness and pace as they dominated proceedings. Another break out wide this time by Rokosau supported by Lewis saw Bone dance around the last defender and pin his ears back to make the line. Miraculously he once more hit the upright with the conversion attempt, 0-29.

The final score went to the black pack who at a 5 metre scrum showed their power as they pushed the Ditchling pack over the line for no 8 Dave Wattam to dot down for the unconverted post rattling conversion score, 0-34.

With 7 minutes left on the clock Ditchling went for the consolation score and after a series of good carries at the scrum they created a good move that saw them score in the right hand corner. They missed the extras to end the game 5-34.

The All Blacks were pleased with their win and more importantly performance especially in light of an ever increasing injury list. The young backs are starting to gel and in players like Dimelow, Whittington, Brown and Collingbourne they have some good ball carriers and turnover winners coming through.

The Ridgeview Man of the Match winning a bottle of English Fizz could have gone to a number of contenders including Daly, Collingbourne and Sayers however the plaudits went to flanker James Brown who was class all afternoon chopping trees in defence and running wild in attack.

The Sussex All Blacks are next in action on Saturday 1st December at home to East Griinstead KO 2pm