Burgess Hill 1st XV travelled to Sheppey RFC last saturday for the final game of the 2010/11 season.
The game was a play off for the 2nd side in Kent 1 vs the 2nd side in Sussex 1 with the winner earning promotion to London and South East 3.
The game started at a frantic pace on a rock hard pitch on a sunny day. Sheppey's players were all 3 stone and 3 inches a man bigger than Hill but were all fit with it.
Whether it was the occasion or a long hard season Hill looked intimidated in the early exchanges and were soon a try down after the Sheppey no 8 picked at a scrum 15 metres out and passed to his winger to score the unconverted score.
This score woke Hill up a little and they rallied lead by hooker Nick Easts, scrum half Dave McComiskey and no 8 Karl Atkinson. Hill were also making good use of their line out where second row Tim Daniel and open side flanker Christian Jones rose like Salmon.
Despite this period of stability Sheppey went on to score another 2 tries using their powerful pack and especially their excellent tight head prop to take a 15-0 lead at half time.
The second half did not go Hill's way as for the first 20 minutes they conceded 3 further tries 2 of which were converted and a penalty as Sheppey showed the form the league results suggested 37-0.
Despite this onslaught, Hill regathered themselves and following a line out 15 metres out which was taken by Jones a rolling maul was set up. Hill then drove the monster Sheppey pack backwards and over the line to score where Atkinson emerged with the ball. The conversion was missed. 37-5
Sheppey responded in true form and scored an unconverted try in the corner 42-5.
The last score of the game went to Hill after a period of 5 or so minutes of sustained pressure, Hill's left winger James Mackie received the ball and powered his way over the line with 4 Sheppey defenders left in his wake. 42-10.
It was clearly not to be Hill's year however Hill can be immensely proud of their achievements this season, the greatest in their 48 year history finishing 2nd in the league and winning the Sussex Shield. Special mention must go to player coaches Owain Jenkins and Peter Ward who have put their heart, soul and bodies on the line for the club.
BHRFC's DoR Ross Hallifax advised; "this has been the greatest season in our 48 year history. Having already won the Sussex Shield, reached the regional quarter final of the national cup and come second in the league everyone involved with the club should be proud of their achievements."
"Our 2010/11 club moto of One Team One Dream has developed a combined club all striving for success on and off the field. With new players joining our ranks, our second XV getting to the semi final of the cup and 7 of this seasons colts (U18's) having represented the seniors (4 in the firsts) shows we are in a great position to build on this success next season."
I now call on all BHRFC players, supporters and followers to help us achieve our ambitions and start by attending the AGM on the 5th May and our club dinner, dance and awards on the 21st May.
OTOD your DoR
If anyone is interested in joining the Sussex All Blacks please call DoR Ross Hallifax on 07941 016836.