Pulborough lost first game at home this season, 5-17 to Aylesford Bulls.
The players turned up to Freelands with relatively pleasant conditions at the weekend, no rain but the usual wind blowing across the pitch. The game plan was to play uphill into the wind so that we had the advantage in the second half, where we would bring on our kicking and running subs. Unfortunatley this plan was foiled as skipper Simon Burfiend managed to lose the toss again, so Pulborough ended up playing downhill with the wind for the first 40.
The first half was relatively quiet in terms of points scored. However it was evident that the match was going to be a physical encounter that Pulborough would have to front up to. Aylesford slipped up first giving away an early penalty which was was missed by Tom Hoey, who was playing his first game back after injury for a few weeks.
Pulborough looked fairly dominant in many stages of the first half. Especially when the boys started to play through our phases, which drew in the big Aylesford pack and left the backs vulnerable. Pulborough were once again awarded another penalty in fairly comfortable kicking range which was unfortunately missed by Hoey.
A few kicks from the Pulborough backs were slightly hit and miss allowing the Aylesford backs to run back at the pulborough defence with good field position. Aylesford were the first to break to duck on the score board. Attacking down the left flank Aylesford drew and passed allowing the winger to dive for the line and despite the best efforts of the covering defence to hold the winger up, scored in the corner.
In the second half Aylesford used the wind and the slope very well, with the fly half frequently making brilliant kicks deep in to the Pulborough 22m.
Aylesford were strong around the fringes and used their muscle to grind away at Pulborough. Eventually the Pulborugh defence caved in and Aylesford scored two tries in the second half, one under the posts which was converted and one in the left hand corner. 0-17
It seemed as though the Pulborough side were playing to Aylesford’s strengths by playing around the corner and rarely getting the ball out wide to the pacey backs. This allowed Aylesford a fair amount of turnover ball and Pulborough conceded too many penalties.
Eventually Pulborough bucked up their ideas, and began to get the ball out wide into the hands of the quick outside backs who attacked well with ball in hand. Especially Ben Miller who made numerous, quick succession breaks down the left flank. On one occasion Miller managed to link up with Ewan Callaway, which saw some nice interlink passing between the two ending up with a try in the left hand corner for Callaway. Conversion by Frazer Oliphant-Hope hit the post. 5-17
Final score 5-17 to Aylesford.
1. Matt Blunden 2.Charlie Denman 3.Guy Bacter 4.Richard Nicholls 5.Barney Reed 6.Joe Ledra 7.Jack Ledra 8.Dan Bullock 9.Ollie Paige 10.Tom Hoey 11.Ben Miller 12.Simon Burfiend (C) 13.Ewan Callaway 14.Charlie Mears 15.Harry Perry
Subs: Will Scrase, Frazer Oliphant-Hope, Andy Bates
Mom for this week was Ollie Paige who cleaned up a lot of loose ball at the back of the scrum, and still managed to provide good service to the backs. As well as Always looking threatening around the fringes with his sniping runs.
Skipper Simon Burfiend said: “Unfortunately we sustained a few injuries during the match. We lost Charlie Mears in the first 10 minutess, Ewan Callaway at half time, who, to his credit came on to defend late in the second half, and Harry Perry in the second half.
“Aylesford are one of the top sides in the league having come down from SE2, and this could be seen on Saturday. We should have been smarter on the field and moved the big Aylesford boys around the park more. But we have identified this and will work at it during the week. We have had a tough run up into Christmas playing the top 4 sides.
“This weekend we go to Park House, who are one place above us, with a reguvinated side we have a real opportunity to grab a first away win.”
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