Hard-working Crawley knocked out of Shield by Pulborough

Richard Hewitt goes on the attack for Crawley against Pulborough in the mud
Richard Hewitt goes on the attack for Crawley against Pulborough in the mud

Crawley showed plenty of effort and flair but could not gain revenge against Pulborough, losing 3-15 in the League Cup quarter-final.

The visitors had beaten Crawley 35-0 in September and they were looking to reverse that hefty defeat.

Played in terrible conditions which grew worse, Pulborough took advantage of the slippery pitch to score the first try.

Undaunted, the home side hit back hard. Keeping the ball tight Crawley started to make dents in the opposition.

Strong running from Riley, Gilliat, Hewitt and Salle saw the home side dominate possession.

They were unlucky not to score after some excellent vision from Cockram, Ali Moffatt was tackled just short of the line.

Pulborough cleared the ball and managed to score their second try just before half-time.

With a 12-0 deficit, the large Christmas crowd were hoping for a second half fightback from Crawley.

Both sides tried to play decent rugby but the conditions worsened and handling was nearly impossible, both defences were very strong and the fitness levels succumbed to the heavy, muddy ground.

Crawley forced a penalty through Matt Lane-Miller after 55 minutes but Pulborough managed a similar response 10 minutes before the end.

Although the endeavour from the home side was outstanding, Pulborough showed their greater experience to close the game out for a 15-3 victory and progressed to the semi-final.

Youngster Blaise Salle belies his tender age with another strong performance.

Crawley now have to regroup and hopefully get injury absentees fit again. Ironically their next league game is at home against the same opponents in two weeks’ time.

Crawley: Lane-Miller, L Wilson, Hewitt, Salle, Moffatt, Cockram, Searle, Riley, Mansfield, Garry, Cooper, Ferrier, Kemp, Mitchell, Gosling, Nabney, Gilliat, Rouch,

Man of the Match: Blaise Salle