Hove v Eastbourne
League 2 Title decider
WHAT A GAME!!! Probably the game of the season.
Firstly, sorry for any inaccuracies as I should have asked someone else to take notes!
If any of the try scorers are wrong, apologies to!
So need to pay tribute to Eastbourne u15's from the get go, they fought from the start to their final try.
All the initial comments regarding the start of the match were so true. What an opening 1/4!
Hove scored 3 tries in quick succession on 4/8/12 mins.
All forwards power! Charlie Loxley, Jacob and Rhys : 17-0
However EB were never going to go quietly! They came back so strongly with 3 tries of their own before half time on 15/19/23 : 17-15.
The closing few minutes of the first Half were all Hove pressing which culminated in a 5m penalty, Charlie T taking a quick tap and being tackled: Yellow Card to EB! There were calls for a Penalty Try, however as there were other defenders, Ref said No!
Hove had another couple of drives to score but EB stood resolute and Hove knocked on, EB cleared : Half time.
I'm told the boys were given some positive but stern feedback at half time which clearly missed the mark as EB scored first after HT : 17-20.
But.... That seemed to spark that bit extra.
After sustained pressure in EB 22 and a couple of "Held up" drives, ball off the back and wide to max who ran into the corner: 24-20.
Within minutes of the restart, more pressure resulting in a pass to a powerful run and Jake receiving at pace and over for Hove's 5th : 31-20.
For the first time in the game there was then a period of about 10-12 minutes were defence was strong in both sides and neither team could gain an advantage.
More Hove pressure in EB 22 but Hove knocked on with 5m to go, EB scrum. Hove's stronger scrum pushed them back but there 9 still got and passed the ball out. With such fast backs EB again tried to run the ball out but finally after all of Lloyd's line speed drills, the ball from 10 to 12 was dropped and Rhys was there on hand to just tap down and score : 38-20.
If anyone thought EB were going to give up, they were wrong! They kicked off and under pressure passing along the line, Hove knocked on and everyone stood still waiting for the whistle but as EB picked the ball up and took advantage Hove were out of position and scored in the corner. 38-25
Probably one of the best individual tries this season followed! Hove were moving forward around half way when Miggi received an inside balled and faded left went right and went through a gap but then pirouetted to beat one defender and then again 10m out before a 3rd tackler got him 2m out but he twisted, reached out and scored placing the ball backwards!! 45-25
With a minute left on the clock, Hove lost their captain to a Yellow card for a Tip tackle.
EB had the final say when Hove's defence seemed to vanish and they ran in their 6th try.
Final score 45 (7) : 30 (6)
I've already mentioned Miggi's individual try but also want to single out Archie with 5/7 conversions but also for his tactical kicking into the corners at the right time, also Jack, you might not have scored today but your powerful carrying put EB on the back foot so often and set a platform for your teammates to score.
The forwards had another all round strong game but this was the backs best game of the season for me, welldone!!
Beyond the actual game, I'm so proud to have been involved with this great group of boys this season and I think it's fantastic the way the whole squad have welcomed firstly the Shoreham boys, then Rhys, Jack and finally Rafii.
Today and this season has been a whole squad achievement, doesn't matter whether you played today or not.
Everyone has improved, contributed and should be proud.
We were always a strong group and had great parental support and this has gone from strength to strength with this years additions, so thank you all.
Lastly but so important, the u15 Coaches. Lloyd, Owen, Sandy, backed up by Steve, Ben and I. Without your commitment none of this teams achievements would have been possible. Don't forget Stewart our 1st Aider (Thankfully not a lot to do), Kev (Photo's)' Mike (Lunch coordinator!) and Mary (Tour manager).