Spirited U14s perform well against good East Grinstead team
U14s battle well with just 16 travelling players
With spring in the air, a squad diminished in numbers but not, as it was to prove, in spirit, travelled cross-county to play a team two divisions above them in the upper echelons of Sussex junior rugby. With one or two players disappointingly not quite fulfilling their promise to attend, there was only one Heathfield reserve to add to the spare player that the hosts generously lent to bolster resources.
With what is now becoming a promising consistency, Heathfield started competitively. With the forward pack getting stuck in and the team led by the steadying presence of Oli Tooke, Jack Flint
, Sam Walley
and Oli Hunt all drove hard into the sizeable home forwards. After 10 or 15 minutes of fairly even play, a re-taken line-out 7 metres out from the Heathfield line saw the home side produce a convincing drive over the line to score the first unconverted try. The visitors stuck gamely to their task – Tom Reilly
controlled the game very well at outside-half with a back-line in which nearly all the others were playing in fairly unfamiliar positions. A string of Grinstead offences at rucks allowed Heathfield to make their way down the pitch on several occasions, but there was clearly pace and strength in the home side’s three-quarters; when they did move the ball, the alarm bells started to ring. Eventually they created enough space for the flying right wing to speed away to score in the corner.
However, Heathfield have shown recently that they are not a side that gives up; back they came in the second half. Brave runs from Nile Till showed the commitment of the side, and Frankie Lee
made some good darts but also three try-saving tackles at full-back. Finally, another line-out drive saw Grinstead score their their unconverted try. A concerted effort at the end almost saw Heathfield score at the end with Oli Tooke and Toby Anderson
both coming close, but it was not to be. A brave effort from the visitors, but East Grinstead were the deserved winners.