St Leonards/Rye XV 65
After their own ground became unavailable Ports needed to find alternative arrangements to host touring Hampshire side Alresford RFC and Rye came to the rescue with a ground and a shared team.
Ports provided the majority of players, but Rye provided dangerous backline runners and strong back rowers.
The game started physically, Ports drove forward through Tom Ingram and Rye back rowers Dan Harvey, and Liam Booth. Alresford, featuring Ports stalwart Gavin Thomas were strong in defence.
Henry Hill probed and prodded, and his stabbed kick was misfielded and a Rye centre dived over to score. Ports were expansive and Joe Whitehill-James kicked and fielded his own kick, the defence scrambled but he fed the supporting Booth who dived over.
A Rye player also converted. Ports upped the pressure, Barry Porter and Josh Storey both carried well, and they gave a platform for Neil Davie to scamper over. Hill converted.
Alresford drove back, and threw themselves at the line. Ports held them back, and a loose pass allowed Whitehill-James to break away and outstrip the Alresford defence. Hill converted again.
Ports kept Alresford out, Porter made some dogged tackles and good work through the forwards again found Ports in the red zone. A quickly taken penalty allowed Davie to weave his way to a second try.
As the half came to an end, Alresford pulled together some phases through hard running, and their lightning fast centre, found a gap to score.
Alresford started the second half doggedly, and their lineout provided a strong attacking platform. Ports were much changed and Mickey Scriven and George Upton came on to drive the ball towards the Alresford line. Debutant Ollie Morgan collected an offload and drove over to score.
Ports had their tails up, Scriven collected the ball at pace to power his way over. Hill converted.
Alresford scored from forward power play before Hill started to unlock the backs. Murray Warman found his way over in the corner. Alresford found another score before Warman collected a loose ball to score another and finished his hat-trick with a swerving run. Hill converted this one.
Alresford found another score, before Greg Montier finished from yards out. Alresford added a fifth try to end a pulsating game.
Thomas in his role of Ports manager identified the successes of the game: “We came together with Rye, and despite little knowledge of each other’s game, played a structured and well-organised game to beat a tough Alresford team.”
There were a number of strong performance, Davie was back to his sniping, dancing self and Hill pulled the strings with real control but E-Heat man of the match was Barry Porter for an influential performance of dynamic running and strong defence.
14 Whitehill-James 13 Warman 11 Steele 10 Hill 9 Davie/Hall 1 Monks 2 Wright 3 Giles 4 Porter/Montier 5 Storey 6 Scriven 7 Upton 8 Ingram/Morgan