Last gasp penalty denies Heathfield
This match provided an illustration of Heathfield’s season as in the last few minutes they lost a game that they could and should have won.
Heathfield 7 Old Colfeians 9
Heathfield scored the only try of the game but missed a relatively straightforward penalty chance that could have been decisive.
Heathfield was severely disrupted before kick off as both first choice centres were unable to take the field and it was too late to summon replacements from the second team who had already travelled away. This meant that Bryn and Sebastian Jones who had been planned to start from the bench on their return from injury were required to start. Thankfully both lasted the full eighty minutes and made useful contributions.
In the first half the home team had the benefit of the breeze and also had a majority of possession. The lineout worked well with Bruce Pestell in particular securing plenty of ball in combination with Matt Finney throwing in on a windy day that saw the opposition frequently penalised for not straight. Approaching the end of the first quarter Heathfield had two penalty chances, both missed, and while the first was long range the second was relatively simple. Colfs were probably having the better of the breakdown and were keen to set up rolling mauls which seemed to be their main attacking weapon. However Heathfield just managed to contain this threat. Gus Taylor had an impressive all round game contesting for the ball and often making useful yards in one of his last games before he disappears for a while.
The visitors had one penalty chance which drifted wide but generally Heathfield had more pressure at this point. At half time the score remained 0-0 but this probably overstates the excitement of a game in which both defences were effective.
Within ten minutes at the start of the second half the visitors had collected two penalties (0-6) and given the support of the wind which if anything was strengthening the situation looked bleak for the home team. However in spite of them having a poor run of results at present there is no lack of heart or endeavour. More of the game was happening in the visitors’ half with useful runs by wings Levi Willis and Charlie Smith. From one of these a visiting flanker was binned for malpractice at the tackle area and Heathfield now mounted their most effective attacks. Finally good ruck ball was exploited by the Jones brothers and Sebastian claimed what seemed likely to be a decisive try, converted by Jamie Walsh (7-6).
However as the clock ran down Colfs had a period of pressure in the home 22 and over-enthusiasm at the breakdown by Heathfield led to an obvious penalty which was gratefully accepted by the visitors (7-9).
This is the third of the last five games that have been lost by Heathfield to a score in the last few minutes, principally through simple mistakes.
The next league match is away to Charlton Park who are currently looking impressive at the top of the SE2 table (2.30 8 Feb).