Match report from the H-Cup at Hove
After a long break from competitive rugby and in unfamiliar conditions – it wasn't raining – the Heathfield Under 11s turned in some very encouraging performances in the H Cup at Hove RFC at the weekend ultimately securing third place.
The first game pitted Heathfield against the hosts on a demandingly muddy pitch. Heathfield made a slow start with a number of players playing in unfamiliar positions in a competitive rugby match. Hove took advantage of the ponderous rugby of the first few minutes to score the single try that ultimately settled the match. Heathfield made a vast improvement to their performance in the second half and were unlucky not to force an equalising score with the forwards in particular finding excellent form.
In the second match Heathfield faced a strong Haywards Heath team. This was, as usual, a very physical encounter. Through a breakaway try and an interception Haywards Heath found themselves to be fortunate to be 2 nil up at half time. Once again Heathfield’s second half performance was greatly improved and the perseverance and team play of the pack resulted in an excellent try for Oscar Carlisle powering through to the try line. A further interception by Haywards Heath resulted in a three one scoreline that somewhat flattered the victors.
The final match of the round robin tournament saw Heathfield up against Horsham. Scoreless at half time the tie was finally decided by a charge down try with Horsham reacting quicker than Heathfield to a ball bobbling loose over the try line and grounding it for the match’s solitary score. It was with great credit to the team that Heathfield continued to work hard to get to the opposition’s try line but no avail.
The playoffs for a final tournament position saw a repeat of the last round of group games as Horsham again provided the opposition. Despite three narrow defeats, the Heathfield team clearly believed they could get something positive from the final encounter and played their best rugby of the day. Another close game was without a score at half time but after the break, the Heathfield forwards were able to build up enough forward momentum through a series of phases to allow Sam Tiley to plunge across the try line for a decisive score. Finding themselves ahead the Greens then had to put up a resilient defensive display to ensure that victory was secured.
The team should be greatly encouraged by a string of strong and improving performances with every team player making a contribution. Try scorers have their moments of glory but this tournament clearly showed how well they could play as a team. Try saving tackles were made by backs and forwards alike. Forward momentum was created by rampaging forwards and passing backs and the 9s and 10s worked hard to link the two parts.
The challenge now is to play excellent team rugby from the first whistle of every game.