Maidstone overpower battered Heathfield
Maidstone swamped Heathfield by eleven tries to one using their bulk and power to overwhelm the visitors who continue to suffer from injuries.
Maidstone 72 Heathfield 5
Heathfield had the slope and some wind assistance in the first half but they failed to use these to their advantage with some poor tactical options. The signs were ominous from the first scrum as the home pack made an immediate impact.
Nonetheless for the first fifteen minutes this was decent contest and Heathfield should have scored in the right hand corner but the final pass was dropped. Soon afterwards a home second row powered his way through several tackles to touch down under the posts. Ten minutes later the home left wing scored the first of several on the day and his pace frequently caused problems for the visitors.
A painful knee injury meant that Charlie Smith had to be replaced by Levi Willis and on the half hour Dan Bird had to retire with damaged ribs so Ben Smith came on to try to stem the powerful home pack. Bird is a tough and proficient hooker but Smith provided more poundage which was needed in these circumstances. Joe Burford was under a lot of pressure at number eight trying to extract the ball from a scrum on the retreat but he still managed a number of useful runs.
The home team secured the bonus point try just before half time and at this point David Bayly received a nasty shoulder injury and was replaced by Chris Brady. So at half time all the visitors’ subs had been used and things were looking increasingly grim.
Home tries arrived regularly throughout the second half as strong direct running took its toll of tiring bodies. Seb Jones would normally have come off for injury but stayed on given the lack of any replacement and others probably wished they could come off as well. The home inside centre caused particular difficulties for the Heathfield defence and looks a classy powerful player.
Heathfield did try to play some rugby and with ten minutes remaining decent handling gave Pete Phair a try in the left hand corner. Maidstone finished off the match with a further two tries. The scoreline could have been worse but their place kicking was less effective in the second half.
Captain Jamie Walsh was outstanding in his commitment all day setting an example to his team.
This Saturday (9 November 2.30) Heathfield entertain Crowborough.