Big Deal overtake Heathfield
Heathfield again started well but failed to ram home their advantage and the larger home side gradually wore down the visiting pack.
Deal & Betteshanger 19 Heathfield 7
Heathfield again started well but failed to ram home their advantage and the larger home side gradually wore down the visiting pack. In the early stages the visitors played with pace and accuracy but not for the first time this season failed to maintain their concentration and effort throughout the eighty minutes.
Conditions were excellent with little wind and good grass coverage on ground easily taking a stud.
From the kickoff by Deal, Heathfield captured possession and swiftly moved it to the left wing where Ollie Brown made a fine break only for the final pass to go astray. However a few minutes later James Walsh put Tom Sheffield into a gap and Charlie Smith was on hand to finish under the posts, duly converted by Walsh (0-7). At this stage the visitors were looking dangerous every time they had possession.
However from the first set scrum the home team looked to have an edge in that phase. Richard Cooley and Tom Pritchard lack nothing in technique and commitment but there is a limit to how much weight difference they can handle.
A penalty gave the home team good field position and this led to an extended period of pressure on the Heathfield line as a lineout catch and drive was followed by a number of five metre scrums and on at least one occasion the line was crossed but the visitors managed to hold the ball up. However eventually the pressure told and on the half hour a try under the posts was converted to level the score (7-7).
Callum Mackay had been making an impressive first appearance at this level for Heathfield with good work in the lineout and loose so his obviously painful departure for a rib injury was an important loss to the visitors.
Ollie Smith, Kobe Tonkin and David Yates were all noticed making good charges ball-in-hand but generally Heathfield were unable to retain the ball enough to build a sequence of phases.
At half time the game looked to be in the balance but in the event the home forward strength and weight meant that most of the game was now in the visitors’ half. Heathfield will be disappointed to concede an early score in the half as quick ball was moved to the home right wing who finished well in the corner with the home kicker converting impressively (14-7).
The rest of the match was a scrappy affair as the home team tried to exploit their edge up front but with little ambition to move the ball wide. Heathfield tried to utilise their limited share of possession but the home defence generally coped. The home pack was exerting increasing pressure without achieving domination. The Heathfield lineout had another sound week and neither side had control at the breakdown although the bulk of the home pack made them hard to contain.
The Deal fly half was working the angles well with some fine long corner kicks as Heathfield infringed too often. The continued pressure eventually told as Deal collected the final score of the game with a try in the corner (19-7).
After three away matches out of the first four, Heathfield will appreciate a week’s rest and then being at home for the next game against Brighton (20 Oct 3pm).