Strong set piece leads to comfortable win
Heathfield continue to improve based on strong scrum and lineout
Heathfield 40 Gillingham Anchorians 7
Heathfield continued their recent winning form on Saturday in what was in the end a convincing win over Gillingham Anchorians. Heathfield had a definite edge in the forwards all day with this evident in the early minutes when the home side won a penalty with their scrum on the front foot, with this pattern repeated throughout the game. The lineout was also strong all day, with good throwing by Jesse Muir, and a try came after a few minutes from Ken Hellier after a driving lineout (5-0).
Mid way through the first half after another good driving lineout a Gillingham second row was yellow carded, the first of four yellow cards issued by the referee during the game. More pressure at the scrum saw a penalty converted by Hellier (8-0).
An excellent try soon followed off a lineout well inside the home side's half which initially saw centre Haydn Parker break the defensive line before linking with centre partner Hellier and in turn with fly half Bryn Jones. Winger Ollie Brown then took a switch pass at pace and motor on before passing for winger Rob Fenner to finish well in the corner. An excellent conversion was added by Hellier from near the touchline (15-0).
Despite Heathfield being in the ascendency the away side's backs were lively, in particular the full back and left winger and Heathfield's defence had to be on their game to snuff out several attacks with Gillingham unlucky not to gain a score in the lead up to half time after some good pressure. Prop Muir put in an excellent tackle chasing back a pacy runner with a second similar tackle in the second half when it seemed the opposition scrum half was almost certain to break away and score.
Hellier added another penalty early in the second half (18-0), and Gillingham their second yellow card of the day, after a good burst from second row Ed Koops. Not long afterwards another card was issued by the referee, this time red, with a Gillingham player sent off for use of the boot at a ruck. Another Heathfield try soon followed after a lineout with Muir going in the corner in front of the clubhouse following a slick pass from Kobe Tonkin. 23-0.
Not for the first time this season, Heathfield slightly went off the boil now and Gillingham had a period of concerted pressure. A number of penalties were conceded in quick succession which saw Koops issued with a yellow card. Substitute prop, Richard Poole, on for Richard Cooley, soon followed to the bin, perhaps unlucky to be yellow carded but paying the price for a number of further Heathfield penalties being conceded in quick succession.
Gillingham pressure was eventually rewarded with a decent try in the bottom corner which was well converted (23-7)
Heathfield now recovered from some of their lost shape and scored three nice tries. The bonus point try was scored by James Stevenson-Wright after a break and kick through from number 8 Ollie Robertshaw, again well converted by Hellier. 30-7. The second came after a driving lineout which saw the ball recycled for Stevenson-Wright to score again in the corner. 35-7. Heathfield now continued to attack at every opportunity with good passing and running in the backs ending with wing Fenner taking his opportunity to finish well in the corner for the final score (40-7).
Heathfield continue to improve with the front row of the scrum and a solid lineout setting the foundations for this win and with some excellent running and link play by the backs as combinations continue to gel and develop.
This Saturday Heathfield return to their old foes Uckfield (20 Dec 2.15pm) for what is sure to be a warm occasion whatever the weather.
Report by Geoff and Nick Green