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1st XV - Match centre

Heathfield & Waldron
Brighton
Sat 20 Oct 15:00 - London & SE Division - London 2 South East Full time

Heathfield early promise but Brighton finish strongly

Heathfield lost by three tries to one as they repeated their recent pattern by taking a lead through decent early play but lost out as their opponents had the stronger second half.

Heathfield 8 Brighton 20

Heathfield lost by three tries to one as they repeated their recent pattern by taking a lead through decent early play but lost out as their opponents had the stronger second half.
Conditions were good in spite of the heavy overnight rain. In the first few minutes the visitors looked impressive as they came close to scoring with some good support play towards the clubhouse corner. However Heathfield gradually came into the game helped by a sequence of Brighton penalties. One attempt at goal fell short but after ten minutes another penalty was kicked into the bottom corner and an efficient catch and drive saw Ollie Smith claim a deserved try (5-0).
Brighton had a penalty attempt themselves but that drifted wide. However most of the play was in the visitors’ half and Heathfield were looking threatening. One key moment in the game now arrived as good ball from a scrum was moved wide only for the final pass to be grassed just two yards from the Brighton try line.
Nonetheless just over twenty minutes in Joe Wood converted a penalty and was just short with another (8-0). Wood had an impressive all-round game in attack and defence.
Heathfield had a distinct edge in the scrum taking at least three against the head with Smith in particular doing well against his opponent while the lineouts were generally even. Damien Pestell had a useful day against a sizeable opposition back row. While the team has been generally settled so far this year, that is not true of the back row which has been different every week, mainly through injuries.
At half time the game looked wide open. However in the first five minutes that changed completely as Brighton efficiently combined good quick ball with direct running that penetrated the previously sound home defence and collected two tries in quick succession, one converted (8-12).
Levi Willis now replaced Chris Brady who had been making a decent first appearance for Heathfield at this level. Soon afterwards Lee Vockins had to be replaced for injury so Charlie Smith came on and Chris Elliott moved to scrum half. Elliott has done this on several occasions this year and is very effective in the role.
Heathfield were far from beaten and the game was being well-contested with most of the play between the 22’s. Ethan Walker was making a welcome reappearance and caught the eye with some good work on several occasions.
The Brighton kicker missed one penalty attempt but was eventually successful with another (8-15) so the home side still had hopes of a losing bonus point. However with ten minutes remaining some good hands on their left flank saw Brighton claim the final score with a try in the corner (8-20).
The pattern of poor second half performances is puzzling the Heathfield management with a number of theories being considered. However it is worth pointing out that Heathfield are punching well above their weight – with a population of less than twelve thousand compared to Brighton’s 150,000. On that basis Heathfield is the smallest team in the league by some distance.
On Saturday (October 27th 3pm) Heathfield visit Sevenoaks.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other London 2 South East results

Crowborough
16
29
Medway
34
17
Thanet Wanderers
8
36
Charlton Park
20
27
Sevenoaks

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Aylesford Bulls 22 51
7. Warlingham 22 50
8. Deal & Betteshanger 22 47
9. Sevenoaks 22 45
10. Heathfield & Waldron 22 37
11. Old Dunstonians 22 22
12. Thanet Wanderers 22 3

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