Dominant Heathfield overcome resilient visitors
A good first half display followed by disappointing second half
Heathfield 34 Hastings 3
Heathfield collected a home bonus point six try win over a doughty but limited Hastings team with the points difference being almost the same as in the previous week’s cup game between the same two sides.
Playing into the stiff breeze Heathfield secured good position from the kickoff and most of the early play was in the visitors’ half. Soon quick scrum ball was worked wide and Ollie Brown revelled in the good surface to beat his man on the outside and touch down in the right hand corner (5-0). For the second week running Damien Pestell was demonstrating his enduring abilities until a shoulder injury caused his replacement. Fraser Goatcher entered the fray necessitating some positional adjustments with Ollie Smith moving into the second row.
Heathfield’s second try was claimed by Ollie Robertshaw from an efficient lineout catch and drive (10-0). Hastings replied though a penalty on one of their just two visits to home territory in the first half (10-3) but generally Hastings had little possession with which to utilise the wind. The home scrummage had a clear edge without total domination: Jesse Muir was doing some useful work at close quarters and Ethan Walker was making a decent attacking contribution.
Shortly before half time Goatcher had a fine run following a lineout and skipper Ollie Smith was on hand to collect the points, converted by Ken Hellier.
The game in the first half had been disrupted by too many penalties, 9 against the home side and just one less against the visitors. Nonetheless Heathfield had played some entertaining rugby and will have had high hopes for the second half.
While the penalty count was slightly lower for both teams in the second half, the game never really sparked into life in spite of decent endeavour by both sides. Heathfield’s bonus point try came after ten minutes of the half as Robertshaw charged through the visitors’ midfield following a lineout (17-3).
Ten minutes later Jim Stevenson-Wright efficiently finished off an extended passage of play touching down in the right hand corner (24-3). Bryn Jones had worked his way through several tackles before finding Robertshaw who gave Stevenson-Wright just enough space. This disappointed some odd individuals on the touchline who were enjoying the fact that the first four tries had been scored by Ollies – Brown, Robertshaw and Smith.
In the last quarter Haydn-James Parker and George Leney replaced Munch May and Walker. A late try by Jones after some decent all-team handling completed the scoring (34-3).
The second half was generally disappointing for spectators, coaches and players after what had been a promising first half. Heathfield had majority possession but were not clinical enough in their attacks. Although the resilient visiting pack kept working away the result was never in doubt as the game petered out and many just waited for the final whistle.
Hastings are having a tough season but again showed that they can be competitive at this level, especially in their forwards, and there are still plenty of winnable games for them.
This result puts Heathfield in fifth place in the league just one point behind Folkestone and Bromley and one ahead of Old Dunstonians. The next few weeks look to be entertaining.
This Saturday Heathfield visit Pulborough (17 Jan 2.15) for their next SE3 league game.