Nick Haynes scored a hat-trick of tries as a fit-and-fired-up Pulborough side eased past newly-promoted Lewes in their season opener.
After a mixed bag of pre-season matches, the away side wanted to set the bar high and get off to a good start as they welcomed new players into the squad.
The conditions were not ideal, with a downpour making handling difficult and the hard ground causing a few problems with rolled ankles during the warm-up.
Lewes’ fast-paced tactics were dealt wit- well by a solid Pulborough defence, who took the lead themselves after 11 minutes.
Henry Lee managed to give an elusive bounce pass to winger Brad Game, who was able to sprint into the corner - with a fine conversion by fly-half Frazer Oliphant-Hope.
One of many fine pieces of solo play resulted in Borough’s second try. A Game tackle saw full-back Nick Haynes get over the ball and win the ruck to burst through the middle and go the length of the pitch and cross under the posts, with Oliphant-Hope adding the extras.
With Pulborough being dominant in all aspects of the field, eventually the pressure began to show with a Lewes player being shown yellow card for a high tackle.
Borough made the most of the extra man, and used multiple phases with great tight work from the young back row and Game burst through to score from short-range and Oliphant-Hope converted for a 21-0 lead at half-time.
In the second half, the sides were faced with the wind and rain. Lewes fumbled first whilst trying to play expansively in the centres and the ball was spilled and picked up by Haynes, who darted in for his second of the match for the bonus point.
Lewes then found themselves back in the game, with Pulborough losing influential heavyweights Hugo Baldwin and debutant Richard Badcock in the scrum.
However, the pressure eventually began to show with Borough players James Ruff and Sam Aviss both being shown yellow cards by the referee.
Lewes made the most of the extra men and scored a deserved unconverted try.
The final try of the game came from Pulborough as Ollie Paige sent the ball spinning through the backs after some great defending on their own line.
Haynes then stepped on the gas and ran the length of the pitch to complete his hat-trick and round off a solid performance.
Pulborough captain Simon Burfiend, who missed the match through injury - suffering from a dislocate shoulder, said: “It was a fantastic win for the boys. Especially given our away performance in previous seasons.
“The feel around the game day on Saturday was excellent and must be put down to the great preparation that has been put in by coach Clayton Saunders and manager Henry Game, who made sure every detail was catered for.
“Frazer Oliphant-Hope lead the side well in my absence through injury, leading by example and rallying the boys behind him.
“His job was made all the easier with a man-of-them-match performance from scrum half Ollie Paige, who was the catalyst of Saturday’s victory.”
Pulborough: Badcock, Ruff, Baxter, Nicholls, Baldwin, Caddick, McLoughlin, H.Scrase, O.Paige, Oliphant-Hope, Game, Lee, W.Scrase, D.Paige, Haynes. Subs: Denman, Aviss, Bullock.
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