Midhurst make sure against Shoreham

Will Bradley and Patrick Windle returned for Midhurst in a Sussex Intermediate League clash with Shoreham, but they were without Lee Travers and George Reynolds. George Burdfield was on the bench.

Midhurst started playing uphill and attempted to assert their dominance early on.

Quickly recycled ball allowed the backs a short phase of activity but handling errors cost them.

Midhurst were the brighter team but scrum time saw their momentum stall. After putting a few phases together, and solid play from both the forwards and backs, the ball was played to James Watson at fly-half and then to Matt Warken on the wing to get over the try line. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Midhurst seemed to switch and conceded too many silly penalties to allow Shoreham a kickable attempt at goal which was successful. This was to be the only time Shoreham got on the scoresheet.

Midhurst came close to a second score through a beautiful move featuring dummies, side-steps and wonderful offloads. Hugo Seccombe was brought down a metre short of the line and the attack dwindled out.

The rest of the first half went by without any further score but with Stephen Adams asserting himself at the scrum, evoking a reaction from the opposition scrum-half which ended in both having a stern word from the referee.

The second half started with Midhurst dominating and Archie Stead making a crunching tackle early on, forcing handling errors from Shoreham.

Great work from the front row of Simon Craig, Harry Opperman and Luke Roberts made life difficult for their opposite numbers during the scrums but Shoreham dominated the lineout moves.

When the ball was released to Dan Hird, after a short powerful run, Hird offloaded to Will Bradley who used his power to break through a number of tackles and go over the line and make it 10-3. Again the conversion was unsuccessful.

Simon Craig made way for John Bryant and Will Bradley was replaced by George Burdfield. Burdfield’s impact was extraordinary with big tackles and strong carries.

James Watson struck a penalty to push the score to 13-3.

Conaill McAdam, a Slovakian international, Johnny Goldsmith, Paul Cooper and Ollie Wood came on for the last five minutes.

Not only was this a vital win,it meant that their undefeated record at home in the league remained.

Man of the match was Archie Stead - a force to be reckoned with throughout with his tackling and strong running with the ball. He put his body on the line when it counted and constantly took on defenders on and beat them.

This week, Midhurst are on the road.

Before the game, Midhurst hosted their annual president’s lunch.