New Encounters Prove Hard to Beat
Young team faced with a difficult challenge
Heathfield received a warm welcome when they visited the splendid Beckenham ground for the first encounter in the history of both clubs. The home side’s consistent record in the higher echelons of the league was apparent from the first whistle until the end of a robustly contested but clean game. Heathfield`s pack has shown strongly this season but right from the start in this game they were under the cosh from a strong and well drilled Beckenham eight who were able to retain possession through the use of rolling mauls and clean catches at the line out. Their greater experience was also evident in the loose where they achieved some crucial turnovers. Heathfield were pinned in their 22 for most of the first half but managed to restrict the home side to a 7 point lead at halftime through some brave tackling and a number of useful relieving kicks by fly half Harry Reilly who was well served by his half back partner Lewis Headland who continued to play consistently well behind a pack who were under pressure throughout the game. Another of the Greenies younger players Lucas Cuming had an excellent game at full back, putting in some brave tackles on the bulky Beckenham forwards and straightening the line when Heathfield were able to use their threequarters.
Beckenham opened the scoring with a try after a good catch and drive from a line out, followed by a penalty for offside just before halftime. While Heathfield had defended bravely in the first half they were only able to manage three points from a Reilly penalty and had not threatened the Beckenham line.
Beckenham went straight into the ascendancy after half time when the Greenies kick off went straight out and the resulting scrum saw the home forwards march their opponents towards the twenty two. This created a fine attacking situation which was accepted by the Beckenham threequarters and after a splendid break by their inside centre the best try of the game was scored. The game had changed and the visitors struggled to contain the home pack which maintained its ascendancy when Olly Smith was shown a yellow card for collapsing the scrum. Heathfield never recovered from their early problems in the second half and Beckenham were able to score a further try from a lineout catch and drive. However once the Heathfield scrum was restored to its full compliment the Greenies came back into the game and with help from a string of penalties awarded against the home side the Greenies played their best rugby of the afternoon and at last played the game in their opponents half. After a good lineout they set up attacking ball and with quick penalties chosen when Beckenham transgressed, the ball was passed down the line with Cuming again showing speed and skill and the ever present Bayly powering through a mass of bodies for a fine try.
Beckenham are a very competent side and will remain high in the league table. The young Heathfield side faced a tough challenge and ended the game strongly. They should take heart from the experience of this game and can continue to make an impact in this very competitive league.
There is no game tomorrow but the following Saturday Heathfield are at home to Bromley in the League.