Nine try romp for Heathfield
Game Burgess Hill overrun by impressive team performance
Heathfield 59 Burgess Hill 8
Heathfield secured a dominant nine tries to one victory against a game but limited Burgess Hill side on a very windy but thankfully dry day.
The visitors arrived on the back of three successive wins but they received a reality check to further ambition as the home side dominated most phases. Heathfield chose to play on the superior surface offered by the Cypress field and their fast all round game amply rewarded the decision with some high quality play.
After Ben Boorman
saw an early chance slip away as his kick ahead was just too strong, the first Heathfield try came as a quick tap penalty was carried on by Ollie Brown and Henry Ross
finished althletically in the right hand corner (5-0). Most of the play was in the visitors’ half although Heathfield were playing into the strong breeze in the first period. A lineout in the visitors’ 22 provided good ball for a set backs move which saw Chester Duff
under the posts, and he duly converted (12-0), one of seven out of nine on the day.
Burgess Hill replied almost immediately as they made a rare visit to the home half and their fly half collected a fine drop goal from some way out (12-3). This was the end of the good news for the visitors in this half as Heathfield now scored three tries in the next ten minutes. First David Bayly
was at the end of some delightful handling, then Ross collected his second try on the day after some more good hands (26-3). Some Burgess Hill pressure then led to one of the best scores on the day as an important turnover was secured on the home try line: behind the posts Ethan Walker
fired a long pass to Boorman who made good ground before Ollie Brown joined in and eventually Walker crashed over for a memorable score (33-3).
Nonetheless the last ten minutes of the half were dominated by the visitors who played to their strengths. Their pack is a sizeable unit supported by a handy pair of half backs. The tight head was noted making some hard yards and the back row often made a nuisance of itself. They also are to be congratulated on having a hooker who actually hooks – Twickenham and rugby law makers please note that there are skills to be mastered that encourage the involvement of people of all shapes and sizes, not just oversized basketball players.
While Bayly was often catching the eye by being first to the breakdown, his backrow collaborator Haidair Maliki is being almost equally effective with the less glamorous but critical hard work at close quarters. Heathfield’s best play is characterised by close support play with Ed Koops
and Oli Robertshaw being important and effective carriers.
With the wind in Heathfield’s favour in the second half, there was little doubt about the final result although it took more than ten minutes before the next score. Secure scrummage ball and good hands gave Brown the sort of opportunity that he doesn’t spurn (40-3). Ollie Stables now replaced Fraser Goatcher
without changing the even contest in the scrummage where Eric Timsen continues to attract positive comment and who was also noted with some strong carries and powerful work at the breakdown.
Bayly was revelling in the fast conditions and was as usual contesting everything. However he and his opposite number now received a ten minute rest for handbags on the ground after the whistle. The play was increasingly in the visitors’ half with the occasional breakout. However a 22 drop out went straight to Boorman in space and he was able to run back for a superb solo try (47-3).
Burgess Hill immediately replied as a simple knock on gave them a scrummage opportunity on the Heathfield line and they deservedly collected a pushover try (47-8). With five minutes to go a cheeky inside flick by Bryn Jones
gave Lucas Cuming a sniff and he duly finished well (54-8). Then as the gloom descended Ross completed his outstanding display (apart from a knock on which we’re not talking about) with his third try, in the right hand corner. He was a natural choice as man of the match although he left early after the game thus avoiding the due public rewards - they are only deferred.
But this was an impressive all round team performance with some of the handling being of the highest quality. The team is also benefiting from the maturing leadership of Ollie Smith
both by example and in finding the right words to motivate all of the team. This quality of performance will be further tested next week when league leaders Bromley visit Cross In Hand. This game will be one of the decisive moments of what is proving to be an entertaining league season – kick off 2.15.