RUGBY: Crawley 12 Crowborough 10 - Improved Crawley gain first win since promotion

Action from Crawley Rugby Club v Crowborough SUS-170919-162705002
Action from Crawley Rugby Club v Crowborough SUS-170919-162705002

Crawley entertained Sussex neighbours Crowborough on Saturday looking to build on a disappointing performance the previous week.

With a handful of selection changes, new partnerships were being formed and the recognition that the challenge would be significant given Crowborough’s convincing win on the opening weekend.

Scrum half Steve Wilson broke through close to the ruck to outpace the covering defence from 30 metres out.

The opening try went unconverted but 5–0 ahead after five minutes gave the home side the confidence that had been lacking last week.

Crawley missed several opportunities to extend their lead.

A speculative cross-kick was charged down by the Crowborough defence who proceeded to fly hack the ball up field and eventually over the Home try line to touch down to level the scores.

Following the try Crowborough rallied and exerted pressure in the Crawley half, again poor decisions in attack and ill-discipline at the line out allowed the visitors to gain 60 meters up field and from the resulting lineout close the home try line drove over to take the lead.

A missed penalty shortly before the end of the half meant that at the interval Crawley trailed 5–10.

The messages at half time were simple; more patience in attack and cut out the unforced errors and the game would be there to take.

Early second half pressure in the second half would suggest that the coaches’ words had the desired effect.

On three separate occasions in the opening 15 minutes Crawley were held up over the line and denied a Try after a forward pass following a strong carry from the base of the scrum.

There was one major scare for Crawley on 22 minutes, when the match official collided with a player and fell awkwardly. Thankfully for the home side after some treatment he was fit to continue.

Pressure continued to be applied and Crawley were able to control territory as a result of the visitors repeated infringements at the breakdown.

The set-piece was continuing to provide a good attacking platform and from a scrum in front of the post Crawley regained the lead through wing Fraser Thompson after two short carries from the back row, successfully converted the home side led 12–10 with 15 minutes remaining.

With over 78 minutes played, the first yellow card of the afternoon appeared; the official’s patience had eventually run out with the repeated infringements and carded a visitor for collapsing a driving maul heading to the line.

The final minutes saw Crawley pressurise the Crowborough line but still unable to convert pressure into points, in the dying seconds the ball was turned over in the Crowborough 22 and was run out by the visitors’ scrum-half.

Beating tackles and carrying into the Crawley half, the covering defence finally pulled him down and shepherd the ball into touch to signal the final whistle.