Confident Medway overrun Heathfield
Heathfield were well beaten by a Medway team who are playing with the confidence that comes from a settled team and a string of wins.
Medway 57 Heathfield 0
By contrast Heathfield have never had the same team two weeks running and a sequence of close losses means that there is little confidence in their play at present.
After the miserable conditions in previous weeks it was a pleasure to play in sunshine on a good surface. Medway opened the scoring with an early penalty and collected their first try a few minutes later when they turned over a visitors’ lineout, moved the ball wide quickly and good support produced a try under the posts (10-0). In the meeting between these two teams earlier in the season Medway had noted Heathfield’s lineout strength and had made specific plans to pressure and disrupt this area. The success of this tactic is shown by the fact that Heathfield threw the ball in to ten lineouts in the first half but secured the ball from just one. The stats were similar in the second half. Deprived of this large chunk of possession and with the scrum under pressure the visitors were always on the back foot.
Two more home tries gave a 22-0 score line after twenty five minutes. The latter of those tries came down their left wing with some excellent passes illustrating the confidence of a side which has been unchanged for eight successive games. Even allowing for the amount of possession the home fly half looked a classy player with good footwork and reading of the game.
However the last fifteen minutes of the half were almost all Heathfield’s as they maintained position and possession in the home 22 for an extended period.. It is no coincidence that their one lineout win in the half came at this point. Chris Elliott went close in the right hand corner and several other opportunities were just snuffed out. There was no further scoring before half time.
Julian Porter was making his first appearance at this level and gave a good account. Win Barrett and David Yates had excellent hard-working games. Kobe Tonkin made a welcome return to the first team after a long term injury although he was eventually replaced by Chris Brady.
At the start of the second half Heathfield may have had hopes of continuing the momentum from the last part of the first half but the home team had refocused and were generally in control. Tries came steadily while Heathfield had only occasional possession.
Heathfield have a week off before their next league game at home against Old Colfeians (25 Jan 2.15).