Heathfield breeze past Bromley
Conditions dictate top of the table clash
Heathfield 25 Bromley 10
Heathfield moved to the top of London SE 3 with a hard-fought win in which Bromley did not adequately exploit the windy conditions in their favour in the first half. Their two point lead at half time was not enough to withstand an in-form and increasingly confident Heathfield team.
The visitors had some early pressure but a long penalty chance drifted wide. However soon afterwards Heathfield secured good scrummage ball on their own 22 only for the Bromley scrum half George Scott to get a hand to Munch May
’s service from the base of the scrum. The referee was presumably unsighted for what looked to many to be at least a knock on and Scott was able to follow through and dive over for the opening try (0-5). This served to concentrate the home side and they started to develop some forward pressure with their characteristic close passing. With ten minutes gone this led to a home penalty and Chester Duff
collected the points (3-5).
This was now a well-contested game with Heathfield having an edge in possession and position but being contained by the efficient Bromley defence. David Bayly
had his usual dynamic game in defence and today was noted with more carries than usual. Eric Tamsen was putting in some combative work in defence including one major collision with the Bromley tight head which left both of them needing treatment.
The developing Heathfield pressure bought its reward when Scott was binned for a deliberate knock on although Heathfield were unable to take immediate advantage. However with nearly half an hour gone a lineout in the Bromley 22 on the left hand side was initially driven on before the ball was moved wide and Ollie Brown finished clinically in front of the boisterous clubhouse balcony (8-5).
Bromley surged back and it took some outstanding cover tackles by Bayly and Henry Ross
to contain one attack into the bottom corner. However this resulted in some handbags which occupied three home players but only two of the visitors. Bromley quite rightly kept playing and duly exploited the temporary extra man with a try by prop Ben Smith on the other side of the pitch (8-10).
Heathfield will not have been too concerned with the half time score given the prevailing conditions. Haidar Maliki and Ollie Stables replaced Kobe Tonkin
and Tamsen at this point.
Heathfield made better use of the breeze in the second half and much of the play was in the visitors’ half although the visiting full back was very impressive in his catching of numerous high balls in a swirling wind.
After ten minutes a scrummaging penalty allowed Duff to put Heathfield in front (11-10). Bromley were handicapped in the latter stages of the game as their influential tight head Tom Standfield had to retire with an injury and the home side enjoyed a clear advantage in the scrummage thereafter.
Throwing in to the lineout was difficult all day especially on the top side of the pitch which was more exposed to the strong wind. A Heathfield lineout now went wrong as Bromley got a hand to the ball but Oli Robertshaw regathered the loose ball and drove on, to be joined by the rest of the pack and Stables was eventually driven over for his first and thoroughly well-deserved try at this level. Duff converted impressively (18-10).
was having a good day in attack and defence and now capped this with a fine catch on the run of a kick out of defence by Bromley which he ran back at them making good yards. This kept the play in the bottom third of the field. Continued scrummage pressure now allowed Robertshaw to pick up, feed May who found Brown who again finished well near the right hand corner, again converted by Duff (25-10).
With ten minutes remaining Heathfield had another penalty chance but it drifted wide. However Bromley had the better of the remaining minutes in terms of possession but they were unable to work their way into the home half with the wind making positional kicking out of the question.
While Bayly was a natural choice for man-of-the-match, Brown had an excellent game with good carries and tackles as well as his two tries. Ross had another athletic game in attack and with some important tackles back. Ethan Walker
and Duff did some excellent work shutting down the dangerous Bromley runners and the drift defence generally worked well.
Bromley will look forward to the reverse fixture and the league and promotion places look likely to be a close contest right up till the end of the season with three or possibly four clubs in contention. There is considerable respect between Heathfield and Bromley as illustrated by the visiting team and supporters staying on to socialise in the busy Heathfield clubhouse.
Next Saturday (19 Dec 2.00pm) Heathfield, now with eight successive wins, visit Folkestone who have been quietly working their way up the table and who have seven wins on the trot. Something will have to give!