Anchs returned to Darland Avenue looking to bounce back from their heavy defeat away to Folkestone the previous week. Pulborough were the visitors and what transpired was a very entertaining and high scoring match.
Despite an early beak by Kenton Parbutt, the visitors took the lead when their playmaker at fly half threw a wide pass which created an overlap for the winger to score the opening try which was duly converted. Pulborough continued to look dangerous with their fly half controlling the game and they were unlucky not to extend their lead when they were held up over the line. Anchs, however, were also intent on playing an attacking game, and were rewarded when number eight Neil Alexander went over from a 5m scrum. Ollie Woodward added the conversion to bring the scores level and then, following some slick handling, he crossed the line and converted his own try to put Anchs in front.
Echoing the events of the previous week, Anchs dropped the ball in the Pulborough half and saw the visitors score a runaway try which was again converted to bring the scores level at 14 all. Fortunately, Anchs were able to hit back almost immediately when they put together a number of phases which ended with Chris Everest scoring under the posts. Ollie Woodward added the conversion and soon extended Anchs lead with a penalty when centre pairing, Kenton Parbutt and Jamie Stevens, combined well and a Pulborough defender tackled a player without the ball and was shown a yellow card.
Pulborough added a further score before half time after another good handling movement and went into the break just 3 points behind with both sides having scored 3 tries.
The visitors started the second half well and regained the lead when another wide pass, which almost resulted in an interception, saw their winger score their 4th try followed by an excellent conversion from out wide. Anchs brought on captain Mark Barfoot for Sam Brown and he almost immediately made an impact, in his first game after a period of suspension, when he crashed over from a scrum on the Pulborough line for the bonus point try which was duly converted by Ollie Woodward.
Not to be outdone, Pulborough, again through their fly half created another try to restore their 4 point lead. Playing down the slope, Anchs took the game to Pulborough and aided by some strong carries by the forwards, notably Alfie Luckhurst, Ryan Lehane and Neil Alexander. A Pulborough high tackle went unnoticed, but the attacking move continued and an inside pass saw Ollie Woodward go over under the posts for a try and conversion, which remarkably bounced off both posts before going over, to give Anchs a slender 3 point lead going into the last few minutes.
Pulborough lost their fly half through injury and Anchs again finished strongly. After putting a penalty kick into touch in the corner, Anchs won the lineout and Mark Barfoot capped his return to the team when he crashed over for his second try from short range. Anchs held on to the lead to secure an impressive 43 – 35 victory and maintain their perfect home record.
The game was the most entertaining game at Darland Avenue this season and Anchs put together some excellent phases of play for a well deserved victory against strong opposition. Despite one or two lapses, this was a welcome return to form and shows that Anchs will be difficult to beat at home this season and will now need to replicate that form on their away trips. Next week sees a break before Anchs head to Park House on 19th October.
By Ian Brenton