Versatility: U14s show strength of squad with good win over Horsham
Heathfield U14’s really show their strength in depth at home, with a 55 – 22 win against Horsham
With half-term just around the corner, the Greenies had a number of key team members missing. Nevertheless, 16 boys turned up on a bright sunny, but fairly blustery Sunday morning. To play a “friendly” against a big Horsham squad, who had definitely come with every intention of wining.
Before the start of the game, Heathfield’s pack needed a bit of a make-over. Ethan Greenlees moving over to prop along with Henry Wright assisted by Ollie Marshall at hooker. In the second row, Duncan Patterson and Zac Remnant came in from the backs. They were then supported in the back row by Eddie Walley, Zac Dunn and Killian Kennedy. On the face of it, this looked like it was going to be a real test for the Heathfield pack, with many boys playing out of position.
Our back line looked powerful with the ever increasing in confidence of Finlay Smith at fly half partnering Harry Slinn - Hawkins at scrum half. Both supported outside by the powerful running Regan Law and Henry Strevens. With the very elusive and speedy Tom Sayers and Frank Moorish on the wings. With Will Cutler storming in at full back, after a long layoff through injury.
The game was played over three periods of 20 mins, on the main club pitch. There was a fairly sizeable amount of supporters from both teams, which was good to see and really stirred up the blood in the home team boys.
With Heathfield winning the toss Zac Dunn (Capt) took the opportunity of playing away from the clubhouse, with the wind blowing fairly hard behind the boys. This 1st period proved to be very fruitful for the boys and showed what they could do as a team. The one thing that really made the difference was their ability to counter ruck. Time after time, a strong Horsham pack went into contact with ball on ground and with the Heathfield boys playing as a team, counter rucked them off the ball. Which led to plenty of opportunities for them to attack and score 4 tries in the first period. Coming from the strong running of Tom Sayers, Regan Law, Zac Dunn and Will Cutler. This ability to counter ruck the ball, was remark on as being a very good part of Heathfield’s play, by the Horsham coaches
I think it is important to point out that during this part of the game and in fact for the whole of the match. Ethan Greenlees put in some crunching tackles around the fringes along with many others. And sadly had to be replaced in the dying minutes of the game with a “stinger” on his shoulder. A really Stella performance from Ethan. It was good to see that he was happily playing pool in the bar after the game.
The second period of the match proved to be a tougher test for the boys. Now that they were facing the ever increasing wind. James Pengilley came off the bench for Harry SH, but was sadly forced off again, fairly soon after this with a back injury. Horsham’s size differential in the pack started to pay dividends and they made a number of good charging runs up the middle of the park. The Greenies all dug deep, and put in a great defensive performance with some great first up tackling from Regan, Tom S, Will C, Frank and HenryS and some barnstorming runs from Henry Wright and Eddie Walley. In addition, there was some great running with ball in hand from Killian Kennedy, who has really found his form this season.
Inevitably, Horsham came back with a couple of scores, with the ever increasing pressure that they were putting on the Heathfield side. Nevertheless, late in the period, Finlay Smith made a fantastic break down the blind side, from some 30 meters off the Horsham line. With a wonderful turn of pace, he was able to go round the opposition backline and score a great try under the posts. Finlay also had a good day with the boot, hitting about 40% of his shots at goal I believe, which to be fair, was not easy under the incredibly blustery conditions.
Now into the third period the Heathfield pack once again dug in and whilst they did not push the Horsham pack back. They were able to hold them and Ollie Marshall did well to hook his own ball for our hard running back line. Duncan Patterson and Zac Remnant, both not our biggest players put in real effort within the scrum. With his excellent “Jackling” technique, Duncan deservedly earned himself a “Man of the Match” award, voted by the Horsham team.
Heathfield then went onto score a number of excellent tries from Tom Sayers, Regan Law and Zac Dunn. Apologies for the lack of detail here, think the excitement of the day got to the coaches and the recall is a bit lacking Nevertheless, it was noted that at one point during the third quarter near the end of the game, Regan made an excellent break and was clear for the line. Unfortunately, he was tackled by a blade of grass and the try line sadly eluded him ?
An absolutely fantastic win for Heathfield U’14s, with “one and all” making a thoroughly determined effort for the team. I think it was fair to say that the coaches were extremely proud of the way the boys played and behaved. A very well done to everyone – give yourselves a massive pat on the back !!!
Please be aware that we have our first “Waterfall” league game on the 5th November. It would be great to know that we could put out a very well drilled strong side against Shoreham, who we did not fare well against last season. Therefore, it is key now that everyone makes the effort to turn up to training both on Wednesdays, but most definitely on Sundays down at Waldron. It would be really good to take this winning momentum through to these crucial games against what will be tough opposition.