14 try win in excellent conditions
Home backs make the most of their opportunities
Heathfield 88 Barking 0
Heathfield enjoyed a 14 tries to nil runaway win against the league’s bottom club Barking.
In dry conditions with a little wind which gradually died away, there could be few excuses for poor execution and indeed Heathfield essentially did what was necessary against a club who are going through a very difficult period. Barking have descended many levels in recent years but one thing that stood out on the day was their great spirit and determination. With only one replacement they were always going to be under pressure and they finished the game with just thirteen players on the pitch.
After the initial exchanges Heathfield achieved good field position on the right hand side and good ball from a lineout was moved to fly-half Tom Glenn
who stepped and drifted his way through the defence for a fine solo try under the posts, converted by Harry Reilly
The Barking eight are a workmanlike unit and they now showed that this was not going to be a walk in the park for the home team with some effective driving into the left hand corner. Once this had been contained Heathfield played simple rugby to work back down the pitch and good lineout ball was soon worked wide left where Munch May
at full back was at the end of some good handling to touch down (14-0).
Barking continued to fight back and Heathfield’s defensive shape was occasionally being tested. Fraser Goatcher
made an important tackle in midfield confounding some doubters about his performance in this area and he also made a couple of destructive runs.
At the end of the first quarter Ed Koops
collected the ball on the visitors’ 22 and he will have enjoyed the step inside to beat a tackler and then the charge down the slope to the line (21-0). From the kick off Barking retrieved the ball but sluggish handling into midfield gave Reilly the simplest of interceptions and he duly strolled over for the bonus point try (28-0).
In the last few minutes of the half good scrum ball gave Oli Robertshaw the opportunity to make useful yards before finding Lewis Headland
who finished well (35-0). Then in the last play of the half turnover ball, in which Colt Tom Tingley
played a useful part, was moved wide and Glenn arrived to collect his next try, albeit with the conversion missed by Reilly (40-0).
At half time the result was clear with just the margin to be determined. All three Heathfield replacements joined in at different points and Shrek Watkins, Warren Wright
and Fabian Rimmer
all made useful contributions.
made an impressive run from the visitors’ 10 metre line breaking several tackles and claimed to be unfortunate when adjudged to have lost control as he grounded the ball just under the home balcony. However normal service was resumed as a scrum soon followed about 10 metres out which was driven over for Robertshaw to touch down. The visitors’ scrummage had been competitive in the first half but gradually they were worn down and by the end the home eight were in complete control.
Glenn now scored two tries as he exploited plentiful possession and tiring Barking legs to complete his four tries on the day (59-0). Watkins then enjoyed a 30 metre gallop with the ball although his impressive pace initially outran the support. However the opportunity was duly exploited and Ethan Walker
was able to celebrate his return to action from injury with an easy stroll into the left hand corner (66-0). Almost immediately Robertshaw collected his second try on the day at the end of some decent phases (71-0). Reilly missed the conversion and was duly replaced as kicker having converted eight of the eleven tries to that point.
In the last few minutes of the game Heathfield scored three more tries as the visitors’ legs tired and they ran out of replacements with several players gamely returning to the fray even when injured.
Armstrong was at the end of some good hands from a free kick, Headland has May to thank for a scoring pass after the latter had made many yards from a tap and finally Toby Warren
ran through a tiring defence to end the game.
Barking returned home weary and battered but with much credit and respect on the day and Heathfield wish them well going forward. Their front row all made useful contributions with the tight head being especially effective. Their number eight, reportedly in his first game for a couple of years, did much sterling work securing useful ball at the base of a scrummage under increasing pressure.
Heathfield Head Coach Dave Cook was pleased to see that all bar three of the tries had been scored by the backs as forwards had been hogging the scoresheet too much this season.
After a week’s rest Heathfield next visit Beckenham against whom they had a close game earlier in the season (27 Jan 2.00). However next week Heathfield Ladies unusually take centre stage on Saturday as they play Cranbrook Ladies in a league game (20 Jan 2.00). Heathfield Ladies are currently equal top of their league so they will be looking to cement their position before five successive away games.