St Leonards Cinque Ports 22
After a run of good league wins Ports pitted themselves against higher league opposition in a friendly game.
Rye hold their own against good quality opposition in Sussex 2 and defeated Ports by 50 points in their last clash. The game started with both sides holding possession in the middle third of the pitch. The breakdown was hotly contested but a little lawless.
Tom Ingram, Chris Perry and Greg Montier all carried well. Both sides were willing carriers, George Upton and Perry put in punishing hits.
Tom Monks fends off a would-be tackler.
Ports found a period of possession, Montier broke up field, Mickey Scriven and Ashley Mountain crashed at the line but were withheld. Rye cleared, and a miss-fielded kick gave them the first score.
Ingram combined well with Perry and Rob Mayer, but another kick found Rye under the posts again.
Rye found a period of dominance at the scrum, two scrums against the head gave Rye another two tries. Perry led a counter attack but some poor tackling allowed Rye to add a fifth try.
With Ports 33-0 down after 33 minutes Nick Giles was brought on to shore up the scrum, after Upton and Montier had driven Ports up into Rye territory. From a secure scrum the ball was well worked out by Henry Hill and Matt Standen found the right angle to drive over. Hill converted.
Ports looked to work the ball wide, Murray Warman combined well with Craig Barrowclough with a stabbed kick, and Mountain drove again towards the line. This time though Standen was creator and he gave Warman the space to dive over.
The second half started with Ports dominating possession and territory. Scriven, Mountain and Perry all were penetrative runners, and where Rye pushed back they found Upton and Ingram making ferocious tackles.
Tom Monks and Upton began to control the line out. Colin Whyte throwing a variety of balls to take control of the set piece. Monks also created gaps. Ingram took the ball within yards and Standen showed fantastic strength to drive over with tacklers hanging off him.
Man-of-the-match George Upton claims the line-out ball.
Ports came looking for another score, Warman made another teasing kick and Will Steele was unlucky not to score. Rye broke away and scored again, killing the game as a contest.
Despite this Ports made a number of changes including the return of Colin Adey after two years out, and good work took them back within Rye territory. Another solid scrum gave Ports a platform and Upton ran over from the centre.
Ports also came close through Mountain and Pykett but Rye showed good awareness to break and make the final score.
Team Manager Gavin Thomas was blunt in his assessment: “We showed real strength in the second half, and played much smarter but we gave a higher league team a 30 point head start and that gave us an impossible mountain to climb”.
Some performances stood out Ingram and Montier both were powerful runners and the introduction of Giles stabilised the game but George Upton was named E-Heat man of the match for set piece dominance and destructive carrying.
Team 15 Mayer 14 Barrowclough 13 Warman 12 Standen (Thomas) 11 Steele 10 Hill 9 Hall 1 Montier (Giles) 2 Whyte 3 Monks 4 Perry (Daniels) 5 Mountain (Adey) 6 Scriven 7 Upton 8 Ingram (Pykett)