Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents 10
St Leonards Cinque Ports 93
The Sea Serpents are Sussex’ newest club, and in two previous meetings with the Ports they were on the end of two convincing defeats.
A season of league rugby has sharpened the Serpents and they came into the game off the back of a close defeat to Crawley III. Ports also came on the back of two good wins and started brightly.
Tom Ingram was strong in possession, and twice nearly put Will Steele in but the winger was denied. Ingram and Tom Monks pushed the ball upfield through phases and eventually Matt Standen crashed over.
Ports were expansive, Henry Hill threw a long pass and Murray Warman slalomed home.
Ingram exploded from the base of the scrum and offloaded to George Upton who crossed. Standen ran over after work from Ingram and Nick Giles to add a fourth try. Hill Converted.
Serpents built up some possession and closely missed a penalty. From the drop out Upton made big yardage, after some chaos Luke Barningham found the ball in hand and dotted down.
After a quick tap Serpents slid over for their first try against the Ports. Ports reorganised, and from his own quick tap Ingram shrugged off tackles to score his first. Ports built up through the phases and Luke Barningham made good yards before his dad Craig Barningham rolled back the years to throw an outrageous dummy and touch down.
The younger Barningham then added a final try of the half after making an initial break and being there to finish off after phases.
Ports made a number of changes and initially were a little disjointed but pushing Serpents off their own scrum ball Mickey Scriven pounced on a loose ball to score. Hill converted. The dominant Ingram broke from another scrum to drive over for his second score.
Serpents showed real drive and found themselves back in Ports territory and some poor tackling allowed them over for a well deserved second try.
Ports were looking to kick start the half and Ross Kearney connected well with Warman to allow the skipper to break free of the defence to sprint over. Hill Converted. Ports were fluent now, and Upton ran around the defence to score in the corner.
The Ports forwards controlled the breakdown, and Chris Perry showed real strength to pick up and carry. Luke Barningham added a third and fourth, both times connecting well with the backline to trot over.
But Serpents would not give up and slowed the Ports advance but Ingram provided another assist from a scrum feeding Kearney for the score. The final score came from Upton who ran a good support line to complete his hat-trick.
Coach Paul Smart was realistic in his assessment of the game: “We leaked two tries which was disappointing but otherwise we were too focussed for a young Sea Serpents side”.
After such a strong performance numerous players put themselves forward for man of the match honours. Luke Barningham scored four tries, and George Upton was everywhere but E-Heat Man of the Match was Tom Ingram who was at the heart of all attacking intent for Ports.
Squad 15 L Barningham 14 Mayer (Whitehill-James) 13 Warman 12 Standen (Loving-Price) 11 Steele (Kearney) 10 Hill 9 Hall (Smart) 1 Monks 2 Wright (Whyte) 3 Giles 4 Wan (Thomas) 5 C Barningham (Perry) 6 Barrowclough (Scriven) 7 Upton 8 Ingram