At the match: St Leonards Cinque Ports v Lewes II

Stopping a breakaway ... - (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved
Stopping a breakaway … – (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved

Welcome to rugby union in Sussex Division Four (East).   We’re so far down what passes for a pyramid here that it’s hard to work out what level we’re talking about. At a rough guess it would take something like eleven direct promotions and a thousand pages of red tape for a team down here to make it all the way to the top.  Today, all anyone was really bothered about was whether the visitors would make it all the way to fifteen.  They didn’t have even enough men and relied on a fair few (estimates varied) from the Hastings areas to get up to strength – and even then needed the Cinque Ports touch judge to step up to the plate when fatigue meant more numbers were required.  It is to everyone’s credit that whilst it was expectedly ragged at times, there was a pretty decent game of rugby to watch at all.

St Leonards Cinque Ports won 31-10.  I know this because the twitter feed told me.  I lost count when I didn’t see the indications following a couple of conversions.  The man who runs the twitter feed also runs the line, leads the training, takes match notes and, today, gets to play some rugby for his club’s opponents.  There are hundreds like him in all sports up and down the country every weekend.  That doesn’t diminish the individual effort – rather, to me, it shows what an under appreciated army we have sustaining sport in this country.

The match was a bit odd.  Lewes probably had the majority of possession, almost certainly had the majority of territory, and yet were never really that close on the scoreboard.  Ports had a well organised defence (although a team who’d met each other before would have stretched them more) and some excellent quick breakers.  That was the difference.

It was a lovely day to watch some rugby.  Obviously my solution to the numbers problem would have been to get them to drop to 13 a side and cap the phases allowed before losing possession at six but even allowing for the obvious deficiencies of insisting on too many flankers there was some good football on display at times.  The sun shone brightly and it was pleasantly warm.  The match was hosted by Hastings & Bexhill and it’s the first time I’ve been up there and not immediately been afraid that I was about to blown from Kansas into Oz.

All in all, a very nice afternoon.  I took some photos (here).  I may be back.  After all, someone has to be there to see St Leonards Cinque Ports make all those promotions until they can face Wasps on equal terms.  Just so long as they never ask me to make up the numbers …

37 / 365

37 / 365 - (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved
37 / 365 – (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved

Words etched in wood. Names linked to views or places by the people who knew them. “For Dad Who Loved The Sea” or “In Honour of the Mayor”.  Sometimes there are no words.  This is a memorial bench unveiled in 2008.  It is for Billie-Jo Jenkins who was murdered in 1997.  She was 13.

Photo here.

36 / 365

36 / 365 - (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved
36 / 365 – (C) Jon Smalldon 2017, All rights reserved

The dentist’s waiting room.  As a child, we sat in what must once have been a pleasing townhouse.  Now it was all municapal yellow paint and dour warnings about missed appointments costing time.  A much nicer one, private, had a cat called Hubert who lounged as folk with money waited around him.  Now back in the NHS there are magazines about very expensive cars to be read. Or Elle Decoration for the ladies.

Photo here.

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