A spectacle of intense, hard hitting, running rugby was put on show this weekend as the boys from Lindfield and Forest clashed at Wakehurst Rugby Park.
Forest asserted dominance early in the piece, scoring in the first 5 minutes with a strong surge and try in the corner for fly-half Ryan Butcher.
Lindfield looked determined to return the favour, pushing deep into the Forest 22 before a dangerous tackle resulted in a penalty shot at goal and a yellow card against Forest. The attempt at goal was missed, leaving the score at 5-0.
The subsequent 22 drop-out moved play back into the Lindfield half, but was quickly turned around by a concerted effort from Lindfield’s inside centre Bobby Geldens. Turning over a fumbled ball, he managed to make a short break before grubbering to the side-line.
Lindfield won the lineout and spread the ball quickly to Geldens who was able to crash over the line. The conversion was missed and with the scores even it looked to become an intense contest from then on.
After the restart, Forest looked under pressure as the Lindfield forwards attempted to stamp some authority, showing strong endurance and good ball retention. Forest managed to hold them out for an age, incessantly clearing the ball to a well-organised and skilful set of outside backs, Sam Yeats, Andrew McWannell and Cam Smith.
Lindfield winger Anton Wright, broke the defensive line multiple times, bringing the game back into the danger-zone for Forest. The evasive prop Tim Dobson finally broke the line, five metres out, capitalising with another try under the posts.
The boys in green returned strong, concentrating the game back into the Lindfield 22.
The game had both teams sharing possession almost evenly.
Outside centre Sam Yeats looked rocked as he was hit hard by Forest inside Nicholas Wong, dropping the ball in the centre of the field. Forest used the counterattack opportunity for a cheeky chip into the corner, fullback Josh Ogilvie gunning it down the side-line for another try.
Both sides looked under pressure at the restart with a lot of fumbled ball resulting in several scrums.
Confusion between the Lindfield outside backs resulted in a dropped ball 10 metres out from their try-line, which was quickly picked up by Forest flanker Peter Carter for an easy run in for a try. The score was now 12-17, Forest on top at half time.
The half time chat appeared to pay off for both teams as they returned to the field. Uniform, passionate phase-play holding the ball static in the middle of the field.
Forest flanker Peter Carter managed to penetrate from five metres out, a well-placed short ball giving him the ability to score for Forest after almost 10 minutes of even return from both sides.
De ja vu strikes shortly after, as the pressure forces another lost ball inside the Lindfield 22, leading to a try for the big prop Aaron Hindes.
Yet again, the Old Soldiers heads remained high as they returned enthusiastically, forcing their way into the Forest half. However, Forest managed to hold them out, turning over scrums and maintaining a strong defensive line for an age.
But the defensive structure could only hold for so long before prop Dobson heaved his way over the line for a try next to the posts. The score was now 29-19 and the thrilling match was only beginning to climax.
Forest coordinated a good attack, using their big forwards and a lot of great line-running through playmaker Ryan Butcher.
Lindfield managed to hold them out, clearing the ball every time, but appeared to crumble under pressure as clearances were shanked and play was repetitively stopped for dropped balls, offsides and ruck infringements.
The intensity of the game, lead to frustration from both teams, as Forest appeared to become rattled, a bit of push-and-shove occurring in the centre.
Forest used a penalty quickly, chipping the ball into the corner for another try to fullback Josh Ogilvie for a game-ending try.
The game exhibited some pinnacle performances from two good sides in the Barraclough cup. 36-19 was the final score, but it was a victory won by the opportunism of a side capitalising on the errors of their opposing team.