Written by 16 October 2016
The first competitive fixture of the season saw the men’s football team head east to Buckswood School (Rye) in a friendly. The team, captained by Alecco Galiotzakis (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture), had a good mix of new and returning students.
The match started with both teams unable to impose themselves on the other with few clear cut chances. The deadlock was broken by the hosts after 17 minutes during a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball somehow pinball into the net. Despite this the team begun to string some passes together and create some chances of their own.
Shortly before half-time the home team caught the defence a bit too flat-footed in allowing the winger to finish cleanly.
The second half started with some positional changes and a greater level of determination. Ross Dyer (Level 3 Certificate in Agriculture) had a shot go very close, as did Alecco. The team begun to develop some fluency in their play with some good controlled possession. A couple of half-chances were created but not converted.
Luke Newington (Level 3 Diploma in Adventure Education) ran himself into the ground in an attempt to stifle the opposition attacks and to generate some control in the midfield. Goalkeeper Charlie Riggs (Level 2 Diploma in Land-Based Technology) was called upon to make 2 fantastic saves mid-way through the half. It was Buckswood’s greater fitness, however, that allowed them to close out the match in the final 15 minutes with 2 more goals – albeit 1 was very fortunate to stand with the scorer being in an off-side position. 4 – 0
Player of the match – Luke Newington, for his incredible desire to cover the ground in both attack and defence.
The men’s rugby team hosted Sackville (East Grinstead) in a friendly on Wednesday afternoon which was played in good conditions and on a lovely surface.
Despite the late withdrawal due to illness by a couple of key players the home team contained a good mixture of strength and speed both in the forwards and in the backline.
The opening 15 minutes of the match was a typically scrappy affair with both teams making unforced errors.
Midway through the half the forwards created some impressive go-forward from the half-way line and allowed space for the backline to go close. Quick recycling saw Will Williams (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture) barge over from close range. The try was converted by Phil Hopkins (Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Agriculture. 7 - 0.
The visitors were quick to reply and found space out wide allowing their winger to cross. Try unconverted. 7 - 5. Shortly before the break the Plumpton team once again found yards through the middle which enabled the backline to run into space and Harry Sandercock (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fish Management) to cross the line unopposed. Try unconverted. 12 – 5.
With the home team now playing up the slight slope and into a strong breeze the going became hard work in the second half. Sackville were able to find some more space and holes in the defence where there weren’t previously. A converted try 7 minutes into the half by the visitors highlighted that it was going to be tough going. 12 – 12. Another try for the visitors a few minutes later put the home team well and truly on the back foot. 12 – 19. It was at this stage of the game that some of the leaders within the team stood up and took the game back to the opposition. Rory Evans (Level 3 Diploma in Adventure Education), Matt Cale (L3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horticulture) and Tierlen Gibbins (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Game Management) all made terrific carries and brought the team back into good attacking positions. A series of pick and drives allowed Phil Hopkins to find Duncan Langley (L2 Diploma in Adventure Education) to twist his body enough to dot the ball down. Try unconverted. 17 – 19.
With the home player’s legs starting to tire from the exertions of the half the away team scrum-half took advantage of a lapse in team concentration to go over untouched from a tap penalty. Try converted. 17 – 26.
Despite the game now being out of reach it was the Plumpton team who finished with a flourish, buoyed on by a pleasing level of support from the touchline, coming agonisingly close to another score before the final whistle.
It was an encouraging first outing from the newly forming rugby academy team who, after blowing off some cobwebs in the opening stages, were able to produce some excellent flowing rugby.
Player of the match – Phil Hopkins for his fantastic energy, game management and leadership skills.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.