Uckfield II 14
St Leonards CP 24
After a month since the last league game Ports took a sizeable squad to face an Uckfield team that had held its own in the league.
The similar nature of the squads was apparent from the off. Uckfield carried strongly and Ports had to defend doggedly.
Rob Fink and Ross Kearney made strong tackles but a number of penalties kept the pressure on Ports.
Ports drove back at them, Luke Barningham combined well with Will Steele for some width before Tom Ingram drove strongly through the Uckfield defence. He was cut short but the ball was worked through hands and Mike Hutchins touched down.
Ports had opportunities but decision making meant they didn’t break the line again. There were bright spots, James Daniels was an abrasive runner and Mickey Scriven broke the defensive line on a number of occasions.
Despite these opportunities Ports could not extend the lead. Uckfield worked back up field. They carried well through the phases. Tierlen Behan and Scriven made key tackles, and Ingram disrupted an almost certain opportunity before they drove over.
Ports made a number of changes at the turnaround, and this clearly gave the side impetus.
From a breakdown Luke Loving-Price made a steal, Ashley Diedericks made a testing kick that resulted in a scrum.
Ingram ran from 8, Smart snappily connected with Hutchins who passed inside to Murray Warman, he ran over to take the lead back. Barningham slotted the kick.
Another sub Max Olujobi gave some real direction with his powerful running, Diedericks again created something with a long looping pass, Kearney straightened up and he fed Olujobi who dived over in the corner.
Daniels, and Diedericks made strong runs and again Ports found themselves in dangerous territory. From a wide position Loving-Price carried and straightened and his pass allowed Barningham over for Ports fourth try which he converted.
Both teams had their opportunities, Kim Wan and Warman both made physical tackles in defence, Daniels and Kearney carried with real physicality in attack.
The game became looser and Uckfield looked to run from depth. Despite this Ports often drove them back, Porter, Daniels and Olujobi all made key tackles and Olujobi almost scored a wonder try before losing a boot.
Despite this Uckfield scored a long range try to bring the scores closer.
Player/Coach Smart captured Ports views at the end of the game saying: “A dynamic second-half built on a solid first-half performance was too much for our hosts.
“A last minute try by them served to flatter the score. We were always in control”.
A number of players were strong contenders for man of the match honours. Daniels was strong throughout, but joint E-Heat players of the match were Tom Ingram who was at the heart of everything in the first half and Murray Warman brought a surgical quality to the second half to wrap up the joint honours.