Heathfield sneak another last play win against stern opposition
Heathfield Colts “A” travelled to a very sunny Horsham for their Q-Final Sussex Colts Cup match knowing that they were forced to concede their B cup match to Hove due to county commitments for a number of players.
Heathfield kicked off with the little breeze that there was behind them and immediately put Horsham under pressure at the breakdown. Well recycled ball and some excellent driving play from Harry Clewley and David Bayly saw Heathfield with a scrum inside the Horsham 22m and in front of the posts. A quick heel and one phase saw the ball moved wide to free Joe Hastings to score in the corner. Three minutes gone, 5 – 0!
Now the match really started! Horsham were kicked out of their initial lethargy and came back into the game. A Further 10 minutes of probing from both sides saw Horsham convert a penalty from 20m out when Heathfield infringed coming in from the side of a ruck.
More midfield play followed with backs moves from Horsham failing due to good Heathfield defending and also the odd fumble and knock-on. This disrupted any fluency from Horsham even though the scrum was evenly contested and Heathfield were winning or disrupting lineout with some great takes from Isaac Brown. At the ruck though, Heathfield were guilty of being slow to the breakdown and definitely guilty of not clearing away the bodies. Consequently, this meant scrum half Tom Faraone had to dig the ball out and the backs were generally getting slow ball against an organised defence.
It wasn’t until the 28th minute that the next score occurred. Heathfield won a lineout inside the Horsham 22 and a simple off the top with quick ball saw Toby Warren crash through weak tackling to score under the posts. Matt Barber converted leaving Heathfield with a more comfortable 12 – 3 scoreline with half-time approaching.
Horsham however mounted a series of attack phases culminating in a quickly taken free kick 25m from the Heathfield line. Good hands with some deft pop passes saw Horsham crash through multiple phases to eventually score near the posts. Horsham failed to convert what should have been a sitter and the half ended with Heathfield leading 12 – 8 but with a lot of work to do to maintain their lead!
Half Time: Heathfield lead 12 – 8
The 2nd half started for Horsham much as the first started for Heathfield. Horsham were on the front foot from the kickoff and won a scrum 10m from the Heathfield line. The SH went blind and fed their winger to scvore a simple unconverted try in the corner for Horsham to take the lead for the first time in the match 12 – 13.
Heathfield tightened up their play in all phases from this point and, with better work a the breakdown, kept Horsham inside their own half. With 12 minutes gone, Heathfield won a scrum near halfway and Faraone sniped on the blindside. He broke 2 tackles before popping a deft flick to the supporting Henry Ross who galloped through to score from 30m out. Barber just missed on the conversion but Heathfield were looking good at 17 – 13 with the majority (just) of possession and territory.
With 20 minutes gone and the game still tight, a penalty 20m out in front of the posts was spurned with a botched tap and go which ended up with Heathfield defending a scrum deep in their own half! We need to learn these lessons! However, Heathfield redeemed themselves a few minutes later when an even simpler penalty was won which Barber duly converted taking the score to a (very slightly) more comfortable 20 – 13.
However, on 30 minutes, and with Heathfield playing and attacking well, a bad offload from captain Bayly saw an interception try scored under the posts by Horsham. The conversion followed and now the teams were EXACTLY tied on 20 – 20. Same number of tries, conversions and penalties scored! Ooerr!!!
Heathfield had 5 minutes to withstand and the draw would have meant a “win” for Heathfield as the away team. On the flip side, Horsham had everything to play for and exerted a huge amount of pressure on Heathfield who had to defend valiantly!
With almost the last play of the match, Heathfield won a scrum against the head 10m from their own try-line. Faraone was part scragged and could not get the ball to Barber to clear, went blind instead and made 20m breaking a couple of tackles. Bayly was right on hand in support and carried on the move upfield. A couple of well run rucks saw the ball again go to the blind side where Clewley was waiting from the opposite wing. Clewley beat the first tackle and, with 20m to make, managed to dot the ball down in the corner for Heathfield to sneak yet another last second win! Barber failed with the conversion leaving the score at 25 – 20 but in truth, the kick was already irrelevant!
With the failed conversion came the final whistle and Heathfield’s win moved them nicely into the S-Finals of the cup beating a good, gallant and unlucky Horsham on the way!
Full Time: Heathfield win 25 – 20.
Team: Halit, Borg, Smith, Brown, Vater, Wardle J, Welch, Bayly, Faraone, Barber, Clewley, Warren, Sandford, Kent, Hastings, Davies, Ross, Jones, Pennell, Wardle G, Burdett.