Last Saturday Burgess Hill RFC, the Sussex All Blacks hosted Crowborough 2’s in the league.
As Crowborough 1s did not have a league game the All Blacks expected a stronger Crowborough team to turn up. They were not wrong as no less than 10 Crowborough 1st team players took to the field.
The All Blacks had the worst possible start when following a knock on at the kick off the ball was fly hacked on for the Crowborough winger to dot down after 20 seconds. The conversion was missed 0-5.
The men in black picked themselves up and began to take the game to their opponents some of which play 2 leagues higher than Burgess Hill in London 2.
The black pack got the upper hand in the scrums and their lineout performed excellently. Notable performances came from Hooker and captain Ben Dewey, the second row of Tim Daniel and Adam Rez and Connor Coldroy at open side flanker.
The backline were equally making ground with centre Luke Mortell and winger Liam a Hopwood making great ground with ball in hand.
Despite the possession and dominance at the set price the All Blacks could not unlock the Crowborough defence who smashed back wave after wave if Hill attack.
After 20 mins Crowborough killed the ball 40 metres out. Up stepped 18 year old fly half Rhys Clarke who slotted the penalty 3-5.
5 minutes later Clarke hit the post from the half way line with another penalty attempt.
Crowborough came straight back at the men in black and following a good blindside break by their 1st team captain and number 8, Hill killed the ball at the ruck. Up stepped the Crowborough 10 who slotted the penalty to go 3-8 up.
The All Blacks once more pilled on the pressure and following a penalty by Crowborough 40 metre out Clarke pointed to the posts. The ball just dipped under the bar to end the half.
At half time the All Black regrouped and felt buoyed by their performance against their illustrious opposition.
They came out in the second half with all guns blazing. The pack was once more on top and the backs were looking to use the ball whenever they had it with the back 3 of Hopwood, Dave Daly and Sam David making good ground with ball in hand. Yet again however the Crowborough defence stood strong.
The game foe the next 20 minutes became a war of attrition in the mud between the 22’s and neither team looked to be getting on top.
In the last 10 both teams had chances however the conditions meant the error count rose resulting in no definitive try scoring opportunities.
In the last play of the game great defence following a Crowborough 5 metre scrum saw Hill turn over the ball and make 60 metres before the ball was knocked on ending the game.
The Sussex All Blacks were extremely disappointed at losing especially as the only difference between them and their illustrious opponents was a mistake in the first 20 seconds.
The All Blacks are next in action on the 3rd Jan vs Crawley in the Quarter Final of the Sussex Cup at home KO 1:45pm.