Heathfield dominate under strength Crawley side
By Nathan O Reilly
Teamwork wins the day
After the torrential rain from the previous few days, the clouds cleared for it to be a sunny but chilly morning on Sunday. The trip over to Crawley had meant an early start for the boys, but they were definitely up for the challenge. The pitch was bearing the scars of the inclement weather, but this did not deter the boys. The focus prior to the match had been about working on defensive lines and commitment in and around the ruck.
Sadly Crawley had been struggling with numbers and only had 12 players. In an effort to even things up, Ollie Marshall kindly stepped up and played for the opposition, making it a more even contest. With a number of the Heathfield team missing through injury, it was a great opportunity for the other boys to shine.
The Greenies kicked off at the start of the game and the pressure was immediately on Crawley. It was clear that whilst Crawley had a few large boys, they did not have the same class as the Heathfield XV. It was not very long before Harry Slinn-Hawkins was able to get his hands on the ball from the back of the scrum and run through the oppositions line and score under the posts. There was then a succession of great tries from Tom Samuel and Henry Wright in the first half. It was good that the boys were playing well off the front foot, but commitment at the ruck and our defensive line were still not working as well as we had hoped. Whilst Crawley did not really bother us in these areas, we will need to improve for next weekend. Unfortunately, Killian Kennedy in an attempt to score a try took a knock to the head. With an important fixture next week and erring on the side of caution, Killian sat out the rest of the game.
After finishing the first half fairly comfortably, we started the second half once again, pressuring the Crawley line. There was now good running from our forwards, putting pressure on the Crawley guards around the edges of the rucks and mauls, which resulted in a try for Callum O’Reilly and Frank Morrish from a very well time "cut back" running line. The boys were now on a roll. A brief lapse in concentration, together with trying to tackle to upright, saw the Crawley fly half was able to retrieve the ball on the Heathfield 22 and run the ball in under the posts. To be fair to Crawley, this was a well deserved try after what would have been a pretty disheartening day.
After a disagreement with the referee, Harry SH moved out to the wing. Needless, to say that did not deter him and he was able to score another try, by beating the opponent on the outside and score in the corner. Without our usual kickers, who are currently injured. Tom Pedley playing well at centre, stepped up to take on the duties. However, Harry’s try in the corner had resulted in an opportunity for Tom to kick for goal 25 meters out, over on the touch line. This did not deter Tom, he gave the ball an almighty boot, for it to creep in the near post, hit the cross bar and go over!!! A great kick giving him a final tally of 4 goals from 6 attempts
With a number of players missing and playing with 13 a side, this was a good solid team performance. The game was well marshalled and organised by the out-half / inside centre combination of Tom S and Tom P. The forwards secured good ball and followed up well in support. Positional kicking and the line outs worked well for the most part. Tackling was well executed with a few exceptions and our defensive plays were solid.
Whilst it was good to have a run out against Crawley and get the winning momentum going again, they did not provide the sort of challenges that we will face against Worthing this coming Sunday. The boys will really need to raise their game and concentrate on the finer details, that we discussed before the match, if we are going to push Worthing. Nevertheless, a good win today... onwards an upwards