Boro' Win Battle at the Top of the League.......
By Ian Geering
With their sixth win, on the bounce .
Match Report by Rick Howe.
Crowborough welcomed Old Dunstonians to Steel Cross for this top of the table clash, watched a by an enthusiastic crowd, that was bolstered by a healthy number of club sponsors and patrons.
For the second week in succession this was a clichéd match of two halves, where Crowborough stormed into a healthy, and seemingly unassailable first half lead, only to take their foot off the gas and allow the opposition back into the game, that they nearly stole at the death. This surely will be a focus for this week’s training ground
The first ten minutes was classic ‘Boro with the forwards off-loading in the tackle to supporting runners, arriving at pace, and any ball that OD’s managed to secure was soon dislodged by the scything defence, led by Callum Main.
With Graeme Francis coming close to scoring with an intercept early on that was adjudged to be offside, it was left to Matt Botterman to open the ‘Boro tally with a 35 metre run that finished off a move started by Callum Main and Alex Purnell. The try was converted by Graeme Francis. 7-0
However ‘Boro were momentarily brought back to earth as OD’s levelled the score through their outside centre. 7-7.
This score saw Graeme Francis leaving the field with suspected knee ligament damage, being replaced by Connor Hand from the right wing.
Seemlessly slotting into the #10 position, Connor Hand proceeded to feed his backs with quick accurate ball, that saw the ‘Boro backs take play to within ten metres of the OD line. Against the head ‘Boro secured possession and drove the large OD unit back over their line with Matt Botterman rising from the bottom of the maul to claim his second try that was converted by Connor Hand. 14-7
Connor Hand then got onto the try scoring ladder himself , finishing off a fine backs attack in the right hand corner, and in converting his own try, took the score to 21-7.
Alex Purnell playing his last game of the season before jetting off to the antipodes, was like a bowling ball, clearing out swathes of space for the ball carriers to exploit, and it was Josh Groocock, latching onto a final pass, who benefited from a cleared avenue to score out wide, and recording the fourth bonus point try.
Alex Purnell then scored his try after a number of pick and drives and some very controlled play. The Conversation was missed which brought half to an end with a healthy lead. The Half time Score - 31 - 7
The second half started , with OD's putting a lot more pressure on the Crowborough back line, however it was Alex Purnell, (who signed off his final home game of the season), finishing off several phases of pick and drives, before Andy Orchard completed the final passage of play scoring with a try in the corner, which Connor Hand converted to take the score to 38 - 7.
In the real world Crowborough would have built upon this position, with a robust second half, but in the fantasy world of Crowborough rugby the unthinkable almost happened as ‘Boro leaked three tries, to a proud and wounded OD’s side, often getting sucked in at the breakdown. By defending narrowly, and by failing to cut down the space, huge gaps developed out wide that were eventually exploited by the centre pairing and most impressively by their extremely quick prop who breezed through a hole to gallop 25 metres to score.
However Crowborough had done just enough to hold out as the final whistle went, but both players and coaches will be in no doubt that such winning positions must be exploited further rather than just sat on. 38-26
This win keeps ‘Boro top with a six point advantage over Pulborough in second place, although with just ten points separating the top seven places no side can afford to rest on their laurels.
Next week 3/11/18 ‘Boro travel to Hellingly RFC KO 2:30pm.
The remainder of the squad travelled to play Lewes RFC 2nd XV running out 13 -17 winners, while the Crows 3rd XV entertained a strong Uckfield 2nd XV going down 5-64.