Crawley are now establishing themselves as having a strong squad of players, putting out 3 seniors teams for the fifth week in a row.
The 1st and 2nd XV are in strong league positions looking for promotion by the end of the year. It’s early days but the single senior squad are working well at training and starting to put together good performances on match day.
Shoreham 3, Crawley 50
Crawley Travelled to Shoreham on Saturday looking to continue their winning ways and above all their development. After an enforced rest week the squad were keen to resume the season and back up the overwhelming performance at Bognor.
Preparations went well with only one or two injuries to deal with, but otherwise a full strength team took to the field on a sunny and calm day on the coast. The opening minutes saw a catalogue of mistakes from Crawley allowing the host to establish a territorial foothold; Kick off not going 10M, the resulting Scrum, penalised, resulting plays penalised again – a trend that was to continue for the remainder of the first half. The early pressure in their own 22 was absorbed by Crawley and with quick movement of the ball after a turnover at the tackle saw Hooker, Cian Morgan-Smith run 80 meters to provide the opening score. The team had clearly incurred the wrath of the Match official and they were repeatedly penalised at the breakdown, the offside line and for speaking with the visiting Referee. Fortunately form these penalties Shoreham only managed to accumulate 3 points and on 11 minutes Crawley again crossed the try line, this time Ali Moffatt went over after some slick midfield handling after a well-constructed driving lineout play. The remainder of the first half was played in the same manner; territory was shared, largely down to the high penalty count conceded by Crawley, many of the players struggling to come to terms with expectations at the Scrum and breakdown specifically. Two further tries had Crawley going into the half time interval 24 – 3 ahead and try bonus point secured.
The half time words were calm and reflective and the target for the second half was to stick to the process and to play to our strengths. The score line remained unchanged for the opening 20 minutes of the half; again unforced errors from Crawley prevented any real control. By now the rain was having an impact on handling and ball retention and several try scoring opportunities were spurned.
On 60 minutes and the tries began to flow again and the final score of 50 – 3 was a fair reflection on the game. Despite the bonus point win, the feeling of disappointment in the post-match huddle was unanimous. Contesting decisions with match officials, not adapting to his requirements and as a result taking concentration away the performance is an area that clearly has to be addressed. Whilst dominant of teams over the past few weeks, tougher games are just around the corner and the squad recognise that they must be fully on their game to achieve success throughout the season.
2nd XV - Brighton 3rd XV 29, Crawley 2nd XV 24
Crawley visited the current league leaders on Saturday determined to put in a good performance, this they most certainly did.
Although, not for the first time (unfortunately) this season the Crawley squad started very slow and within 10 minutes were already 12 – 0 down with some fast and aggressive play from Brighton. It was at this point that they woke up, recognised how the opposition were playing and adapted their own game to both stop Brighton from playing and also get a good sequence of plays together themselves to score two tries and finish the half even 12-12.
We knew the second half would be a bruising affair as both the hard pitch and opposition wanted to make their case. Brighton took the lead soon into the second half as they tried to return to the style of play that was so productive at the beginning of the game, however this time Crawley dug in and scored two break-away tries themselves to take a 24-22 lead into the last 8 minutes. Then with Crawley attacking and just 5m out Brighton managed to recover the ball and with a couple of knock-ons (unfortunately not noticed by the ref) they managed to clear their lines and break the full length of the pitch to score, this was the last play of the match. So, a disappointing end to an otherwise excellent, enjoyable and very competitive battle.
Crawley 3rd XV 7, Cinque Ports (St Leonards) 44
Playing Cinque Ports 1st side was always going to be a tough fixture for the Crawley 3rd team. With the home side fielding a vast mix of age and experience it took the visitors well drilled forwards only a few minutes to set up and release the ball for their speedy backs to score in the corner. As Crawleys’ fresh mix of players tried to settle into the game, the visitors made most of their experience by running in a total of four more tries in the first half. After the turn around the home side started to put some of their own pressure on the visitors but struggled to convert this into points and Cinque Ports again retook control of the game. Crawley, playing with heart and passion and now fielding three forwards in the back line, finished the stronger and after several minutes of sustained pressure on the visitors’ line, Jack Regan went over for Crawley’s only, and his first senior try.
Paul Rouch, Toby Scothern, Andy Rychlowski, John Ruffhead, Jason Watts, Paul Pemberton, Jack Regan, Dave Bevan, Gavin Jackson, Ben Wright, Marc Bagshaw, Ray Sutherland, John Doyle, Stevie Jennings, Steve Rham, Ian Cotton, Mark Gallagher, Darran Shadbolt, Rod Taylor.
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