Burgess Hill v Heathfield and Waldron RFC U13’s - Friendly 15/10/17
Heathfield squad demonstrate their potential
We had a very enjoyable first warm-up match against a very welcoming Burgess Hill. Due to squad numbers it was determined we would play 4 15-minutes games with Burgess Hill using rolling subs and Heathfield completely changing personnel for each stanza.
Being blessed with a very competitive squad we were able to select 2 sides for the opening 2 games that offered a strong mix of forward drive and silky hands that we are becoming accustomed to.
The opening 13 of Charlie, Luke, Henry M, Roman, Matthew, Xander S, Harry, Henry W, Hector, Fergus, Monty D, Dylan and Tom set the tone for the day very quickly.
Within a couple of minutes, a strong defensive tackle in midfield created a ruck that the forwards powered through. The quick ball this secured was then cycled quickly through hands wide allowing Tom to cut back at an angle to score. An opening phase of play that was to be mirrored on numerous occasions throughout the 4 games with a variety of personnel contributing. This team then ran in another 4 tries with Tom, Hector, Matthew and Dylan all scoring. All 4 were slightly different with Tom benefiting again from good hands creating space, Hector scoring after sending his man for biscuits with a show and go, Matthew doing what Matthew does best and refusing to be stopped as he powered in from 10 metres out and finally Dylan scoring in the corner but mention has to go to Charlie; like all good props he appeared in the outside centre channel (!) took a pass, straightened the line attacking his opponents inside shoulder and then keeping his hands free through contact slipped a pass to Dylan allowing him to stroll in.
The second game saw Taw, Fin, Luke, Monty S, Elliot, Will S, Theo, Guy, Caspar, Will G, Joseph, Jack and Oliver take the field. Having witnessed the strong showing from the first match these boys were clearly determined to at least match what they had witnessed.
The themes continued with tackles being made, rucks being won and hands being used to produce some great scores. In addition to this we saw some excellent pursuit of kick-offs, particularly by Jack, this created even more pressure and resulted in us completely dominating territory. Tries came from Jack; with a long-range run-in to the left corner after a counter-ruck win on the right touchline, Will S with 2, Monty S touching down after a strong run from Joseph, Elliot after a kick-off steal by Jack and finally Will G after a stolen ball at a maul by Monty S.
For the third and fourth games we swapped the backs to the other set of forwards but nothing changed in terms of performance. By then the patterns were set and I stopped taking notes! I believe that we ran in another 10 or 12 tries in those 2 games.
For those not present it may sound like Burgess Hill weren’t involved and that would be unfair. Whilst Heathfield dominated every phase of the game Burgess Hill kept playing, kept tackling and never let their heads drop. We hope that our boys recognised this and can adopt the same attitude should we find ourselves in a position of adversity.
There was a great ‘rugby’ moment late in the fourth games when Burgess Hill’s best player burst through and left Tom and Will S in his wake to score. The applause from the Burgess Hill parents was understandable but it felt good to be a Heathfield parent when everyone of us also applauded both the skill and spirit shown by this player in particular but also to his team-mates who never stopped.
Burgess Hill then extended hospitality to the boys in the bar and perhaps we need to work a little on our post-match skills with Burgess Hill comfortably winning the man-of-the-match challenge!
Onwards to Brighton for another friendly before the real test ahead in the form of Jersey.