PULBOROUGH was given the honour of hosting the Sussex President XV’s annual fixture against Surrey on Sunday.
The club’s Freelands ground staged the match this year, and the fixture is fast becoming a firm favourite between the two counties at the end of the season.
And the host club were proud to have five players in the President’s line up - Mick Clay, Jon Page, Matt Twelvetrees, Ewan Callaway and Bin Donaldson.
Last year Surrey came away with the victory so Sussex were looking to even things out.
For the first 20 minutes of the first half Surrey looked very strong with big ball carriers from the forwards causing problems for the Sussex defence and were soon leading 15-0.
In this period of play Sussex didn’t get much ball to work with as Surrey’s tight five retained possession well.
Against the run of play and with the first real attack into the Surrey 22 Sussex came away with their first try scored by Boro prop Clay, it went unconverted for 15-5.
From the kick off Surrey started to get back into their grove and wave after wave of forward runs rained down on the Sussex defence which held strong, clever kicks over the heads of the Sussex’s wingers kept them pinned in their half and it felt only a matter of time before another Surrey try would come, sure enough from some good pick and drives deep in the Sussex 22, Surrey’s fourth try came and it started to look like a long afternoon for the Sussex team as they faced a 20-5 scoreline.
Sussex restarted and with a determined chase put big pressure on the Surrey pack, this resulted in turn over ball which was moved quickly to the backs and Seaford’s impressive inside centre Paul Burns burst through the line and deep into the Surrey 22, quick ball was recycled by the veteran scrum half which saw Twelvetrees burst over the line for his first of the afternoon. The conversion was slotted and trailing 20-12 at the break Sussex had some hope.
Adam Davies, (Newick) and inside centre Paul Burns cranked up the pressure in the second half, playing some untouchable rugby. And Sussex capitalised on the space they created as Holbrook’s speedy winger Ash Sporne grabbed two tries in ten minutes and Twelvetrees ran in his second try of the afternoon.
The crowed were given a great display of running rugby which was rounded off by Paul Sandeman from Hastings. Surrey got a try back but it was far too late as the Sussex pack dominated in the scrums and prevented Surrey winning any quick ball.