SHOREHAM Rugby Club won their first trophy in the club’s 22-year history on Saturday when they beat St Francis in the Sussex Plate final.
After defeating Plumpton in the quarter-finals and Barns Green in the last four, Shoreham fought back from 8-0 down to beat St Francis.
Shoreham, who lost the Plate final last year, made a slow start and St Francis, with the wind behind them, went 3-0 ahead with a penalty after just five minutes.
As soon as Shoreham kicked off again, St Francis continued to apply pressure and spread the ball wide in broken play to score in the corner. Although the conversion missed, St Francis had opened up a 8-0 lead.
St Francis again powered their way into the Shoreham half but Shoreham defended strongly, before a wayward St Francis pass was intercepted by Toby Reed, who ran 70 metres to touch down an unconverted try.
That proved to be a turning point in the game as Shoreham stepped up a gear and full-back Adam Shaw kicked his side into a great position. Following a successful line-out claimed by Shoreham captain Daegan Beaumont, centre Paul Eyre-Walker cut through the St Francis defence to score. Shaw’s conversion put Shoreham 12-8 ahead.
As the first half concluded, Shoreham began to turn the screw. With a big defensive effort from second row Nick Hobden and hooker Lance Tufft and some strong running from number eight Gavin Cox, St Francis conceded another penalty on the halfway line.
Shaw kicked for touch and, from the line-out, Shoreham set up a driving maul, which was pulled down by St Francis when Cox looked set to cross the line and a penalty try was awarded.
Shaw’s conversion took Shoreham into a 19-8 half-time lead.
Shoreham continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and, with the wind behind them, extended their lead when Cox peeled off the back of a maul five metres from the line to touch down in the corner.
During the second half, Shoreham used their substitutes perfectly and they all made an impact as tries from Reed and Cox put the game out of sight at 34-8.
Shoreham then added one more try when James Garner and Tim Griffiths combined, with Griffiths touching down near the posts and Shaw added the extras.
Beaumont said: “After the disappointment of losing out in last year’s final, we were determined to come here and do one better.
“Our preparation was perfect and everyone involved deserves the win.
“St Francis were fantastic opposition and came flying out of the blocks but we did really well to stick to our game plan and, in the end, I think the result reflects the game. I’m very proud of the lads.”
SHOREHAM: Clarke, Tufft, Lavery, Hobden, Rae, Cannell, Beaumont, Cox, Hadfield, Reed, Evans, Trimm, Eyre-Walker, Swift, Shaw. Subs: Bryne, Falk, Gann, Gray, Miles, Garner, Griffiths.