Ladies lose in close Cup game
By Philip Bell
Strong Seaford pack the decisive factor
Heathfield 12 Seaford 17
Heathfield Ladies suffered just their second loss of the season in this RFU Junior Cup match by two tries to three. The Seaford pack had too much experience and control for a home side weakened by injury and absences.
Heathfield had first use of the slope and breeze and probably did not make proper use of these favourable conditions. On more than one occasion the ball was tapped when it actually needed a good kick downfield. Most of the first half play was in the home half with the penalty count going strongly against Heathfield and the well-drilled visiting pack keeping the pressure on.
Indeed the first score came rather against the run of play, at the end of the first quarter, when another penalty in the Heathfield half was tapped and hooker Amber Lovick (pictured) took the ball on through the heart of the Seaford team and still had the pace to reach the try line at the other end. This was an outstanding individual effort and would figure in any list of try of the season. Georgia Reed-Davies converted.
Seaford continued to pressure into the home half and they were duly rewarded shortly before half time when a centre burst through a number of tackles on the left hand side and collected a fine individual score, albeit unconverted (7-5).
The visiting scrummage had a slight edge but their lineout looked a very solid operation and this is one area in which Heathfield clearly need to improve.
Early in the second half a Seaford centre had to retire with an injury and in the absence of replacements they played one short in the back division for the rest of the game. Heathfield were unable to benefit from this advantage as they rarely achieved clean possession.
Indeed Seaford now took the lead when they did what the home side had failed to do in the first half as they followed up a big hoof downfield and, having retrieved possession, moved the ball wide for a very decent try, albeit again unconverted (7-10).
However Heathfield soon replied as advantage was being played from a previous breakdown when Carla Monson grabbed the ball at the tackle, with the referee calling on a Seaford player to release her, she had the strength and pace to dive over for an important try, albeit unconverted, giving the lead back to Heathfield (12-10).
This was the final score the last time these two teams met and for a while it looked as though this would be a repeat. However most of the rest of the game was played in the home half as the visiting pack strength and control took its toll. Seaford should have sealed the game after some sustained pressure but the ball carrier dropped the ball over the line. However this just delayed the inevitable as with ten minutes remaining a defensive scrum went wrong and Seaford were able to power over for the decisive score.
The Heathfield coaches afterwards commented that their side had showed the lack of a recent game, especially in the first half, while Seaford had benefitted from an easy run out the previous week. There were a number of decent individual performances with Reed-Davies gaining confidence with every performance, Katie Statham tackling well above her weight and Linde Brouwer having a promising first run on the flank. There was particular praise for Poppy Eacott having her first game after just a couple of training sessions – she did well and will have learnt much from the experience.
After a week’s rest Heathfield return to league action in two weeks’ time (27 Jan 14.00) when they visit New Ash Green for the first time.
1. Carly Harris
2. Amber Lovick
3. Saskia Sullivan
4. Alex Young
5. Georgia Reed-Davies
6. Katie Statham
7. Linde Brouwer
8. Becky Taylor (c)
9. Carla Monson
10. Georgia Hutchison
11. Issy Bowler
12. Spohia skinner
13. Keeleigh Harman
14. Poppy Eacott
15. Nicky Charter