Pulborough reclaim top spot but warned not to get carried away

George Lee had a fine day with the boot hitting three conversions and a penalty, but hat-trick hero Brad Game took the main plaudits. Picture by warwickpics.com
George Lee had a fine day with the boot hitting three conversions and a penalty, but hat-trick hero Brad Game took the main plaudits. Picture by warwickpics.com

Pulborough have reclaimed top spot in London 3 South East, but captain Simon Burfiend has warned his side to continue to take one game at a time.

A maiden 34-21 victory away at Old Dunstonians, coupled with previous leaders Thanet Wanderers’ shock defeat to Aylesford Bulls, saw Borough go four points clear.

With five games left to play, Burfiend’s side have a five-point gap over third-placed Haywards Heath and nine points more than fourth-placed Lewes.

Burfiend said: “The results went in our favour this weekend, with Thanet somehow slipping up against bottom dwellers Aylesford.

“We’re now four points clear at the top. However, it is very congested amongst the top four and all is still to play for.

“It’s important we focus on each weekend and how best to prepare for each game not allowing ourselves to get caught up in future games or final league standings.”

With conditions favouring open running rugby both sides obliged and the opening exchanges were real sideline to sideline play.

An intercepted pass by Brad Game cut out a ball for the Dunstonian winger and he raced from deep within his own half to score, with George Lee converting. Dunstonians pulled back a well-worked converted try to level the scores as a set-piece move from a scrum allowed them in.

Borough hit back with a number of pick and drives and Game fended off his man to crash over from close range. Lee again added the extras.

But Dunstonains scored again before the break. Despite stealing a line-out on their own line, the visitors did not clear the danger and a Dunstonian player dived on the ball and the conversion levelled the scores at 14-14.

Pulborough were playing down the hill in the second half and scored their best try of the match as Lee played into the hands of Owain Mcloughlin, who drew his man and put Game in for his hat-trick.

Lee added a penalty, before Burfiend drew the defenders, leaving Guy Baxter open to bulldoze across under the posts for a converted try and 29-14 lead.

Dunstonians went over after a scrum close to the line and although the initial conversion was missed, it was retaken due to shouting in the charge down and slotted over.

With the game out of time, a frantic end saw two attacks from both sides break down before Baxter broke and passed to Will Truscott to complete the scoring.

Burfiend said: “Firstly credit to Old Dunstonians it was a great game to be a part of. Very physical, very open and some great tries scored by both teams and all played in good spirits.

“We really had to dig deep this weekend to pull out this performance, physically it was a big encounter and our pack really stepped up showing their mobility around the park in such an open game.”

Pulborough return to action on March 4 at home to basement boys Ashford.

Pulborough: Baxter, Denman, Ruff, Baldwin, Bullock, Sadler, Coombe-Tennant, Mcloughlin, Lee, Burfiend, Game, Burnett, Truscott, Gravel, Paige. Subs: Francis, G.Nichols, Pascall.