Brighton Sea Serpents v Kings Cross Steelers 4th XV
Written by Simon Davis. Hove was the scene for the first ever match for the Sea Serpents, a brand new club who had invited the newly formed 4th team.
After a joint training session and shared lunch, the match kicked off promptly at two o’clock under patchy skies, wind and occasional burst of drizzle and sunshine. The slope of the pitch was offset by having to play into the wind.
The opening minutes saw a healthy start for the Steelers with several good drives by the forwards leading to a lightning move left into an empty field, reaching the end of the back line with a superb try by Alex Sumarokov at 5 minutes in, leaving the Serpents spitting with surprise but perhaps not as much surprise as Alex.
The ball remained solidly in the attack by the Steelers for the first 12 minutes with an excellent try by Thomas Bend disallowed due to an incident back in the line (forward pass).
In typical British seaside weather manner, the sea drizzle started blowing in sideways in high gusts of wind; making conditions on the pitch ‘fun’, to say the least. Following several well structured rucks by the forwards saw prop Alex Stella break free and avoided the Serpents ruck guards to score a try; bringing the first half score to 10-0 to the Steelers.
Following some stirring coaching words from Bryan Vester, and Iggy Samuel Smith, the second 40 minutes started strong once again with Steelers dominating possession despite the Serpents’ greater size. By keeping possession of the ball within a number of ruck phases saw some significant gains in ground followed by skillful direction from the backs and support from the forwards despite the slippery clay conditions. It was almost as if the sun had come out when Matt Everett reached the try line and brought the score up to 15-0 at 45 minutes brightening the players and supporters. Again the forward dominated play in the slippery and wet conditions with Stewie Lee bolstered the score once again in the 54th minute with a try after some impressive moves past the Serpents’ guards to make it 20-0. Sadly due to the weather and inexperience, kicking conversions proved difficult.
In the 59th minute, further solid teamwork by King’s Cross 4ths was rewarded, and the back were unleashed with an opportunity for Paddy O’Hagan to take advantage of gaps left by the Serpents tiring defensive line. Paddy went into overdrive with an impressive run to the left of field hitting the try line having escaped interception and diving for the line. Some real Paddy power.
The final score was 25 - 0 to Kings Cross Steelers 4th XV
Overall the match was very even, with the slightly more experienced King’s Cross pack able to maintain structure and release the attacking backs where possible. The Sea Serpents showed great defensive resolve, and started to understand and implement game tactics/structures that worked for them. The Serpents had some fantastic breaks up the field, and were only brought to ground by some frantic tackling. There were some fantastic positives to take from the game for two teams that had only started in September (KXSRFC) and December (Sea Serpents). The return fixture is eagerly anticipated as a way to measure progress and reinforce what was learnt under the gray skies and on the muddy fields of Hove.
Man of Match: Stewie Lee
Forward of Match: Martin Ingham Gill
Back of Match: Jack Walker
Try of Match: Paddy O’Hagan
This fixture saw the beginning of competitive rugby between two newly formed teams. The Sea Serpents are brand new as a club and the King’s Cross Steelers 4th XV a new team brought into existence after a successful Pathway to Rugby scheme and the passion and commitment of both coaches and players.
Written by Simon Davis