Heathfield Sink Ports.
Heathfield 3rds Sink Ports & win a tight game 12-13
Heathfields 3rd team arrived at Cinque ports knowing they were up for a tough game. Although the weather was good, the wet pitch set the tone for a forwards game.
Heathfield lost the toss and were elected to play into the wind with the sun in their eyes. Good pressure right from the kick off saw Heathfield having good possession, and a strong kick from Julian Wates put them firmly in C.Ps 22. The pitch started to cut up straight away, leaving the ball like a bar of soap. After a series of Knock-ons and scrums Heathfield won a penalty in front of the posts. They elected to go for the posts but Brady put it narrowly wide.
From the following drop out C.P began to believe, and with good pressure started to make ground. With some good footwork and countless missed tackles they made their way from right to left and a deft pop from the second row saw Ports in, in the corner. Conversion missed 5-0.
Heathfield rallied and started to play to the conditions. Keeping the ball in the forwards, they were rucking well with good support trundling deep into the oppositions half. The packs were well matched and most ball was going with the put in. After a scrum on the five an infringement from C.P led to a Penalty. Jack Bayley quickly tapped and popped up a ball for Matt Skinner to crash through and score. The conversion was missed 5-5.
Heathfield raised their game and started playing more as a team. Julian Wates and Nick Seddon were letting nothing through in the centres, and when the ball was cleared from the strong boot of Brady Burdett the wings Paddy O’Hara and Matt Overy were chasing well and pinning Ports back. After some heroic tackling on their own line Heathfield forced a Penalty cleared their lines and were glad to hear the half time whistle.
Now playing with their backs to a wind that stopped during the half time team talk, and the sun hiding behind a cloud the advantage had gone.
Heathfield caught the ball from the kick off and rolled a maul 20 yards up the pitch. They were enjoying good possession and with good pick and go’s from Julian Porter and Ian Schlieder. Deep in the Ports 22 the ball was turned over and C.P cleared. This went straight to Brady and with a pop to skinner who left Cinque Ports tackling shadows ghosted through to score under the posts. A rushed conversion hit the post and bounced out. 5-10
With 12 minutes to go Heathfield thought they had won the game and went to sleep. From the kick off they all looked to each other to do something while kicking and hacking saw C.P get to within 5 of our try line. Jack Bayley cleared the line and winning a line out looked to be out of danger. C.P stole the line out against the throw in and worked their way from left to right. With again missed tackles C.P scored in the corner. The conversion was well hit and Heathfield watched it straight through the middle of the uprights. 12-10.
With only a few minutes remaining Heathfield refused to let their heads drop. All players believed they were still in the game. From the kick of Neil Burfield chased hard and put C.P under pressure, great numbers at the ruck including Alex Lester and Chris Jones resulted in a turn over. Quick hands saw Heathfield get to within 10 metres and C.P had to infringe to stop a certain try.
With everyone screaming not to tap and go the stage was set. Matt Skinner stepped up and slotted the ball through the posts. 12-13.
With only a minute left Heathfield kept switched on. A great catch from the kick off set a rolling maul which gobbled up ground and time, Julian Porter and Paul Hookway reaching the half way line, a penalty was awarded, the ball was kicked into touch and the whistle went.
Either team would have deserved the win but the points went to Heathfield.
This was an entertaining game to watch, not so much for the rugby but for the spirited and fair performances by both teams.
Picking a man of the match was difficult, Kevin Parker stepped in to the front row well, With Alex Lester and David Vater making good ground and tackling well. Full back Joe Hastings tidied up well, but this week it has to go to Jack Bayley for hard yards, bravery and managing to control a difficult game.
Team: Julian Porter, Chris Jones, Kevin Parker, David Vater, Alex Lester, Paul Hookway, Matt Skinner, Neil Burfield, Ian Schlieder Capt, Jack Bayley, Brady Burdett, Matt Overy, Julian Wates, Nick Seddon, Paddy O’hara, Ivan Downs, Joe Hastings.
Match report; Kenny Lewis