Heathfield again denied in final minutes
This bottom of the table clash saw nine tries and for the second week running Heathfield lost by two points to a very late try.
Lewes 27 Heathfield 25
In the first half Heathfield had the steady breeze behind them but only occasionally made use of the conditions. The first quarter was characterised by steady Heathfield pressure being punctured by powerful running by the home three quarters whose inside centre in particular caused many problems. Nonetheless this period of play saw some very poor defending by the visitors which allowed three Lewes tries all scored from deep. Sam Goatcher did reduce the damage with a penalty but a score of 15-3 had the Heathfield team and coaches looking shocked.
For the rest of the half Heathfield gradually worked their way back into the game with the scrum starting to exert pressure. A Lewes scrum in front of their posts was turned over and Jamie Walsh had the skill and pace to collect an important try, converted by Goatcher (15-10). Then on the half hour more Heathfield pressure on the home try line resulted in Sam Bayly charging down a clearance kick and Gus Taylor collected the ball to bring the scores level (15-15). However the conversion was missed as was another penalty chance soon after.
Nonetheless from being 15-3 down Heathfield will have felt very much in the game at half time. However the first few minutes of the half saw more injury woe for the visitors. First Taylor had to leave the pitch with suspected concussion and then Bayly received a painful leg injury which could see him out of action for some while. Both Taylor and Bayly were having influential games so this will have handicapped Heathfield. Charlie Smith and Levi Willis replaced them and Willis made his usual combative contribution which was very appropriate in the context.
However Richard Cooley was now binned for an offence at the breakdown which meant that Heathfield were put under some pressure. A kick out of defence was charged down and the ball bounced kindly for Lewes who finished efficiently and for their kicker to make his only conversion on the day (22-15). Alex Borg now had to retire hurt and Chris Brady entered the fray, necessitating more positional changes with Ollie Robertshaw moving to number eight and Willis going onto the wing.
Two yellow cards for Lewes in separate incidents helped Heathfield to collect two pushover tries by Robertshaw (22-25) as Cooley, Calum Fraser and Matt Finney dominated their opposing front row.. With five minutes remaining Heathfield should have been able to close the game out but basic errors and naïve options gave the home team an opportunity and good hands saw their left wing collect the winning try in the corner (27-25).
For the second week in a row Heathfield lost a game in the last minutes when it was there for the taking. Last week a fine all round performance was followed today by a dismal first quarter from which the team did well to recover and nearly win but such inconsistency is very difficult to explain and for the coaches to deal with.