Blues Run in 7 Tries Against Dover
Blues come away with 5 points to edge four points ahead of Chiswick in the league.
Following the first and hugely successful Ladies Lunch Brighton welcomed fellow relegation battlers Dover to Waterhall in a game where both sides were searching for points.
Brighton got off to a dream start, having kept the ball from kick off they were awarded a penalty just inside Dover’s half. Lewis Evans kicked to touch and the pack executed the lineout to perfection with Joe Hoare acting as a rudder at the stern of the maul he touched down for his 4th try of the season. Lewis Evans added the conversion to put The Blues ahead 7-0. Brighton were controlling the game in the opening 10 minutes keeping Dover back into their 22 forcing them to kick clear. Fullback Simon Lilley and wing Zak Downey linked up well down the left touchline with Lilley touching down for his first try The Blues since becoming available after Christmas.
Joe Hoare was sent to the sin bin in the 14th minute for slowing the ball down however this did not stop Brighton’s momentum. Good interplay from backs and forwards allowed number 8 Jack Thomas to crash over for his 6th try keeping him at the top of the try scorers list for the season, this put The Blues ahead 17-0 with only 19 minutes played. Dover had spells of possession but a defiant Brighton defence led by Jordan Wythe and Josh Elliot forced turnovers and kept the visitors at bay. Simon Lilley and Zak Downey partnered up again for The Blues 4th try, this time Lilley put the leg work in creating space for the gas man Downey to finish in the corner. The tough conversion was missed keeping the score at 22-0. Brighton stalwart James Trevis then took a knock to his knee in the 35th minute and was replaced by Luke Austin.
The second half did not follow the script to the first half, it was the visitors who came out firing. Brighton were on the defensive and Jack Thomas made a late hit which the referee punished with a yellow card giving Dover the one man advantage. Dover played the opening 10 minutes in the Brighton half but were unable to break the line. The visitors cause was helped again when Simon Lilley was sent to the sin bin for a tackle off the ball, Lilley’s first ever yellow card at the ripe age of 30 put The Blues down to 13 men. The flood gates eventually broke when Dover’s winger scored in the corner utilising the huge overlap. The touchline conversion was missed leaving the score 22-5.
Brighton continued to defend Dover’s attacks successfully while waiting to return to full strength. However just after Jack Thomas’s return from the sin bin Dover right wing popped up again to score in the corner narrowing the deficit to 12 points 22-10. Blues were back to full strength and also brought on some fresh legs, Adam Salvage replacing Josh Elliot at hooker. Brighton got back on the score sheet through Captain Joel Forward who crashed through on a trademark short line after some good carries from Danny Steadman and Andrew Rowlandson. Evans made the conversion pushing the score to 29-10.
Dover were guilty of switch off after a great break from Onke Nesi which beat 2 defender before getting tackled 10 metres short. Dover joined the ruck from the side and opportunist Ben Herbe took a quick tap to touch down on his 53rd appearance and first home game since joining the half century club. Drone footage of this try can be seen on our facebook page Brighton Rugby Club. Lewis Evans converted making the score 36-10.
Nick Cherry came on to a huge cheer from the balcony in place of Simon Lilley at fullback. This was Cherry’s 158th and last game in blue for the foreseeable future. Nick has a new job with American Express and is relocating Salt Lake City with his wife Bean, we would like to thank Nick and Bean for their contribution to the club on and off the field over the past 8 years.
With the game out of reach of Dover in the past 5 minutes, Brighton continued to attack. Joel Forward burst through 2 tackles to crash down for his second try of the game. Lewis Evans slotted the conversion to cap off the victory at 43 -10. Chiswick picked up 2 bonus points against Tottonians which leaves Brighton ahead by 4 points with 5 games remaining.
A great performance from Brighton who’s momentum continues to build in this crucial period of the season. Next week it is another home game against Gosport who also find them in the relegation zone. Brighton will look to continue their good run of results. The support from the balcony is certainly helping, we expect to see the same crowd again next Saturday.
Match photos taken by Dave Beech and Martin Finch
Supporters Man of the Match
Jordan Wythe 3 points
Simon Lilley 2 points
Joel Forward 1 point