Worthing vs Heathfield & Waldron U18 (Sussex Cup) - 04 February 2018
“Victory for Heathfield……we think”
Worthing Away – never a good phrase and not just because of the distance to get there. Worthing have suffered from their success in the National Cup a couple of years before and were continuing in the Colts B league with an under 17 team – but then most of the Heathfield team are under 17. Also for a bunch of 17 year olds, Worthing still had some big kids when compared to the Heathfield pack.
The wet and cold weather had left the pitch not too muddy but certainly a bit greasy on the top.
From the kick-off it appeared that Worthing were gaining the upperhand. Their fast pony-tailed winger flew down the wing and only a last gasp tackle got him into touch. Worthing pressed on from this and with them passing the ball well, the no. 10 saw a gap and sidestepped into the space and went in under the posts. What should have been a straight forward conversion, the ball hit the post and bounced out. (5-0)
This seemed to spur Heathfield into action and back they came into the game and began to dominate. They were camped in the Worthing half and with several close attempts, the ball was passed along the line to a grateful George S who took the glory of the try. The conversion was missed from near the sideline. (5-5)
More pressure from Heathfield. Despite having the smaller forwards, they were winning the breakdowns and moving forward. Worthing weren’t giving in and put up some good defence. Then from a ruck on the left, Tom C passed the pass to George H who shrugged off the challenges of two players and into the gap. He drew the fullback and with what could have been a better pass, he put George S through for his second. Tom C converted. (5-12)
Heathfield were on a roll now. All Worthing could do was defend. Eventually, the inevitable happened. The ball was stopped short again but Tom C picked up the ball from the back of the ruck and all he had to do was drop over the pile of bodies in front of him. Conversion scored (maybe). (5-19)
Worthing had a late flurry at the end of the game and with a fine rolling maul from a lineout they somehow managed to get through the Heathfield defence. Conversion missed. (10-19)
After half time, it was still Heathfield in control. With play not really moving anywhere, Heathfield were awarded a penalty more-or-less in front of the posts so it was decided to kick for the points. Tom C duly obliged. (10-22)
The game continued in a similar vein with Heathfield on the attack and Worthing valiantly defending. After much battering of the Worthing defence, Max R managed to wriggle his way through to score on the left. There was some confusion (not for the last time today) about whether or not the conversion was scored or not. The final score would suggest not. (10-27)
Then seemingly seconds later, George H forced an error from the Worthing no. 12 who dropped the ball at his feet. George picked it up and ran it in for a try. Conversion missed(?). (10-32)
Worthing looked really tired and Heathfield were flying, surely that was game over………. BUT.
From the kick-off, Worthing pressed forward and whether it was Heathfield relaxing too much or Worthing suddenly playing for pride but Heathfield were pushed back. An over-enthusiastic tackle resulted in a Heathfield yellow card and Worthing scored. Conversion scored. (17-32).
I’ll be honest I lost track of the game after that but it was all Worthing and they scored twice and got one conversion to get within 3 points. (29-32).
Now here is the moment of confusion. With 2 minutes to go, Worthing bludgeoned their way through the Heathfield defence again. One of their forwards got over the try-line but he thought that he needed a converted try to win the game, so he ran around a couple of players in the dead-ball area before being brought done. Then there was a bit of a fracas with tempers getting frayed. The referee then walked up the pitch and awarded Heathfield a 22 drop out – the Worthing player (in attempting to get to the posts) had stepped beyond the dead-ball line – NO TRY.
From this point, Heathfield needed to have cool heads and they needed to slow the play down – which they didn’t do and Worthing came very close to scoring. Thankfully the referee called time and the game was over.
Full Time (29-32) 5 tries, 2 conversions (Tom C), Try scorers: George S (2), George H. Tom C, Max R
Heathfield are through to the semi-final against Hove, although they should have lost the game. Note: if the scores had been tied at the end of the game, Worthing would have gone through because they scored the first try. There certainly seemed to be agreement amongst the two sets of coaches that Heathfield won but that the score was not quite correct – maybe it is written in the stars that Heathfield get through. Anyway they need to concentrate for the full game if they are to get anywhere near beating Hove.