Efficient Darts down sloppy Heathfield
Dartfordians deservedly won this match with an efficient performance while Heathfield can only rue their first half errors.
Dartfordians 34 Heathfield 10
Initially Heathfield had the slight slope advantage but the home side were first on the scoreboard with a penalty after three minutes (3-0). It soon became apparent that Dartfordians liked attacking from the lineout with a well-organised driving maul. However Heathfield have learnt from previous experiences this season of this technique and after a few lineouts they were able to contain the threat.
The game moved all over the pitch with both sides having attacking chances. However in the first half Dartfordians took their chances well and Heathfield didn’t so the game was pretty much decided around half time. The visitors had adequate possession but failed to build any phases as they frequently lost the ball in contact. By contrast Dartfordians played with the confidence arising from a succession of good results. Most of the home scores originated from Heathfield errors. Home pressure had led to a number of penalties with their kicker missing one chance to extend their lead and eventually George Leney was binned for malpractice at the breakdown. A kick to the corner gave them good position and they duly worked their way over for a converted try (10-0).
Heathfield missed one long range penalty chance from one of their periods of pressure but on the half hour the home side completed an extended period of play with their hooker benefitting from an over-extended defence to touch down in the left hand corner (15-0).
Then either side of half time two similar tries decided the result. In both cases a kick ahead by Dartfordians (one from the half time restart) was lost by the defence and the home side pounced on the opportunities (27-0).
The Heathfield lineout worked efficiently with Andy Noble having an especially productive day while the scrummage had one of its best days this season. The combination of Jesse Muir, Richard Cooley and Ollie Smith is starting to function well and they had a clear edge all day. Given this, it was slightly surprising that Heathfield were penalised several time for not straight at the scrummage while the home put-in was only sanctioned for this late on in the game.
In spite of the tries either side of half time Heathfield now had their best period of the match. They started to show a much more competitive and aggressive attitude with Bryn Jones and Ollie Smith leading by example and Ed Koops having an especially effective and combative day. A try soon came from a lineout catch and drive with Ollie Robertshaw claiming the touchdown (27-5).
Pressure on the home side resulted in sequential yellow cards for their scrumhalf and number eight respectively. However Dartfordians are an efficient and organised side as suggested by their place near the top of the league table with only one loss so far this season. Their defence proved just adequate against the more inspired visiting attacks. Indeed they collected a final try as a result of another kick ahead and then duly punishing a catalogue of errors by Heathfield attempting to run out of defence(34-5).
Heathfield had the final word as a kick was charged down on the right wing and the ball recovered for a try in the corner (34-10).
The home side deserved the win while Heathfield will take some solace from the second half performance. They need to start games with that aggressive and competitive attitude instead of waiting until the opposition have taken the game away.
This Saturday (22 Nov 2.30) Heathfield entertain Bromley who are also having a good season with just one loss to date.