Floodlight Frustration against Lewes
The Friday night encounter at Willoughby Fields was a game of distinct contrast
The Friday night encounter at Willoughby Fields was a game of distinct contrast. The first and last 30 seconds went to Lewes with two errors capitalised upon for Converted tries on both occasions. The intervening 79 minutes was very different story with Crawley controlling possession and territory and their defensive handling anything Lewes had to offer, forcing error after error in the visitors attack.
The visitor’s first try came directly form the kick off; gathering the ball a speculative kick into space bounced as only a Rugby Ball can and fell into the hands of a grateful Lewes Wing to run in form 40 Meters.
From here on Crawley played with control and patience, stretching Lewes on occasion and maintaining pressure through a carefully crafted kicking game form Fly Half and Centre. As has been the trait over recent weeks the pressure and territory failed to produce tries , the final pass going astray or silly ill-discipline at the breakdown affording Lewes and easy ‘Get Out’.
Defending well the Crawley line remained unthreatened going into the interval, trailing 3 – 10 after one of the high number of penalties had been kicked the mood was still confident. The messages at Half time were simple, cut out the silly errors at the breakdown as this was keeping Lewes in the game – the penalty count was too high and making the game closer than it could have been.
The second half continued in similar vein to the previous 39 minutes, Crawley enjoying territory and possession but failing to capitalise. The one area of the game where Lewes was beginning to dominate was the Scrum; with injuries and unavailability’s to regular Props, Crawley’s resources were truly tested and with limited options on the bench the prognosis was not good. Ironically, the Scrum dominance by Lewes was compounded by the effectiveness of the Crawley Defence; the pressure being applied on the Lewes Half Backs was forcing a string of handling errors, unfortunately the Match Official had little empathy with the Struggling Crawley scrum and the limited advantage meant Scrum after Scrum, which only played into the hands of the visitors who were able to regain possession too easily.
Penalties had been exchanged in the second half and going into the final stages the score line of 6 – 10 was still arguably an unfair reflection of the game so far. Not content with a losing Bonus Point, Crawley began to chase the game, always expansive and willing to move the ball in attack; they now adopted a higher risk approach.
In the 80th minute following yet another forced a handling error on the Lewes backline the scrum, 20 meters out form the Crawley line was to lead to the nail in the coffin of the Crawley efforts. Under pressure again at the scrum the ball was gathered at the back of the scrum and an attempted offload ricocheted off several players before falling into the hands the Lewes Scrum Half who ran in under the post, the conversion was the final act of the game.
Despite the progress made again in the level of performance shown by this young side, the disappointment for all was clear to see, the 6 – 20 final score certainly flattered the visitors and left Crawley facing an uphill struggle for the remainder of the season, starting next week away to Park House in a bottom of the league clash that could prove very decisive by the end of the season.