St Leonards CP 47
After Ports had taken the journey to West Sussex twice this season, it was much appreciated when Crawley brought a sizeable squad for Ports’ final league game of the season.
Ports were not extending the charity to the pitch though, from the initial kick off Max Olujobi chased the ball down and pressured the Crawley line.
The first scrum also demonstrated Ports’ intent when the front row of Nick Giles, Tom Monks and Colin Whyte shifted the Crawley pack off their own ball.
Ports had the go forward, Luke Loving-Price cut a dangerous line and his no-look pass found Olujobi who slalomed home from the half way line. Luke Barningham slotted the conversion.
Ports began to dominate possession, but weren’t breaking through. Greg Montier carried tirelessly, each carry broke through tackles. When Crawley did attack it was well managed by Ports. Steve Hall tidied up well, and Luke Barningham was a dangerous counter attacker.
Ports again found greater possession and Whyte was an abrasive runner. Montier again came close before a loose 22 kick found George Upton and the back row forward sauntered over the line. Barningham again converted.
Ill discipline put Crawley into Ports territory but solid defence from Montier and a clever steal by Chris Perry began the counter. Henry Hill found time and space, and his clever kick pass found Joe Whitehill-James and the winger found space to run home. Barningham again converted.
Ports were dominant at this point, Upton carried well and he combined well with Hall and Barningham. Crawley pushed back but Ports worked well through the phases.
Hill switched play from the base of a ruck, he made yards before passing flat to Barningham who dived over in the corner.
The second half started with Ports making a raft of changes, but they started the half in the same vein.
Montier again burst through tackles and his deft offload found Upton who ran in from the half-way line for his second. Paul Smart converted.
Ill discipline again found Ports briefly under the cosh. Craig Barrowclough made a key tackle on the line, Giles’ steal reducing the pressure. Crawley hammered at the door, Perry, Montier and Upton all made big tackles to clear the lines before Mike Hutchins broke away.
His break left the Crawley defence buckled and Perry picked up and ran in a well deserved try.
Will Steele was unlucky not to add to the score with a good kick and chase before the abrasive Murray Warman cut through the defence to score another. Smart added his third conversion of the half.
Ports were still in control but an injury to a Crawley player led to the game being ended 20 minutes early.
Coach Smart summed-up Ports’ performance: “A clinical first half put Crawley on the back foot. Very effective scrum and line-out reduced any opposition and good use of the ball in the backs sealed a long awaited home victory against Crawley.”
A number of players shone, Hill led the backs and showed a real playmakers touch, Upton was an athletic presence throughout but E-Heat man of the match was Greg Montier. The number 8 carried well, breaking tackles at will throughout.
15 L Barningham 14 Whitehill-James 13 Warman 12 Loving-Price (Diedericks) 11 Olujobi (Steele)10 Hill (Hutchins) 9 Hall (Smart) 1 Monks 2 Whyte (Wright) 3 Giles 4 Wan (C Barningham) 5 Perry (Thomas) 6 Scriven 7 Upton 8 Montier (Barrowclough)