Heathfield Hurricanes Under 12s- Haywards Heath Festival
Another fantastic report from the pen of Mark Walley.....
Heathfield U12s match report from Haywards Heath
On a beautiful morning the squad of 15 collectively rubbed sleep from their eyes and rocked up at Haywards Heath to do battle in a pool of 4, with hopes high after a strong finish at the Hastings festival the previous week! And boy did they not disappoint!
Whilst the parents tucked into the bacon butties and slurped that all important first coffee of the day, the boys were put through their paces by the coaches with pre-game drills and warm-ups which set them up well for the first match in the pool against Horsham. With game faces on they set about their work with great determination. Helped by the slope and strong attacking flowing rugby - spreading the ball and keeping the line in defence – saw the boys romp to a 3-1 lead at halftime with tries from Jack Pincus, Will Chambers and Declan Skyrme. Horsham attacked hard in the second half and pulled it back to 3-2, at which point the nerves were jangling on the side line, but the boys steadied themselves and a few good low tackles, good rucking at the breakdown, blitz defence and a brilliant interception from Will Chambers to score the decisive try meant HW&RFC ran out 4-2 winners. A great start!
The second match saw the boys face up to a Barbarians side made up of Pulborough, Hove and Lewes pulled together by the organisers because Chichester didn’t turn up. Considering the opposition hadn’t played together they equipped themselves well. A scrappy game saw defences on top, ball spilled and turned over with a 0-0 score at half time. The coaches galvanised the boys with their half-time team talk which helped produced a more fluid second half with Jack Pincus breaking the line, after good play in the midfield, and scoring the only try of the game. H&WRFC winning 1-0.
With confidence high from the two good wins and the opportunity to really go far in the tournament the coaches prepared the boys for the final game in the pool against Eastbourne, when it all came together. Despite running up the slope H&WRFC got on top early with a good level of handling skill and passing before going into contact and presenting the ball well at the breakdown. With rugby brains really switched on with a great catch and mark called, excellent link play and spreading the ball whilst holding the attacking the line - saw really well worked tries for Zakk Dunn, Freddie Loach and Daniel Morris, so a half time score of 3-1. Eastbourne attacked hard at the start of the second half, and with the parents biting their finger nails, the boys defended really strongly and at last a free flowing move saw quick passing and Duncan Patterson released to score a great team try to relieve the pressure. A consolation try by Eastbourne saw H&WRFC triumph 4-2, to win the group and go into the Cup Competition Final against Haywards Heath A!!! An awesome all round team performance!
With the parents / grandparents in full supporting voice the squad committed everything to the final; a well drilled Haywards Heath moved the ball very quickly, but the boys kept at it with good tackling, great defence – with some big hits - and counter attacking when they could with the ball passed out before coming into contact. A try by Haywards Heath at the end of the first half meant the boys came out determined to fight to the end; the quick handling, straight running and relentless pressure at the breakdown and in the tackle eventually took its toll with HH running out 4-0 winners at the end. No shame in that though - a brilliant effort put in by the boys with everything left out on the pitch. With smiles all-round the players received their very well deserved runners-up medals and coaches received congrats from the parents, whilst taking on the board/discussing the areas to work on.
So a great day had by all. A big thank you to the coaching team Nathan, Phil, Matt and Mark for their efforts throughout the day and to Haywards Heath for organising a well run festival.
By Mark Walley