Heathfield 3rds see off Horsham 2nds
Heathfield 3rds scrummage and power their way into the next round of the cup.
After last weeks close game the strategy would remain the same; keep it tight in the forwards, plenty of pick and drive, then release to the backs. Perhaps this was a simplistic outlook, but in the first 5 minutes the visitors were unable to deal with the pressure. The Heathfield pack dominated from the kick off, driving into Horsham’s 22; excellent work from Julian Porter and Nick Evans with close support from the rest of the pack, was just too powerful for Horsham to counter. This attack ended in a knock on and a scrum to Horsham, but Heathfield’s front 5 driven by the second row Alex Lester and Paul Hookway, wheeled the scrum resulting in a turn over ball. Winning the scrum, the ball was shipped out by scrum half Jack Bayley to the waiting backs; controlled by fly half Brady Burdett the resulting move saw full back Craig Austin-White cross the line for the first try. The conversion was missed.
For the remainder of the half Heathfield maintained the pressure; Burdett keeping Horsham pinned back in their half with some excellent kicking. Hooker Chris Jones and second row Alex Lester working well in the line outs coupled with the robust rucking and mauling kept Horsham at bay. Horsham only looked dangerous when their backs got the ball; crossing the line twice, but were not given as a result of earlier infringements. Heathfield kept their composure and were rewarded just on the stroke of half time; a Horsham scrum on their 5 metre line was driven back resulting in scrappy ball, pounced on by Jack Bayley for Heathfield’s second try. The conversion was again missed.
Horsham, having regrouped at half time, started strongly catching Heathfield flat footed; this enabled Horsham’s backs to have their first meaningful impact on the game, while Heathfield’s scrambling defence held, eventually a penalty was conceded and duly converted by Horsham to bring them back into the game at 10-3. Heathfiled appeared unable to curtail the resurgent Horsham; who ran in a try (not converted) and a penalty to put the visitors in front 10-11.
The second half was only 15 minutes old; Heathfield had plenty of time to get back on top. Captain Ian Schlieder lead from the from the front, supported by flankers Matt Skinner and Ivan Downes, who stepped up to the challenge and took the game back to Horsham. Heathfiled regained the upper had and played most of the last quarter of the game in Horsham’s half. This pressure finally told and Heathfiled was awarded a penalty that Matt Skinner converted, Heathfiled were in front 13-11.
The final act was a Heathfield scrum on the Horsham 5 metre line. Twice Heathfiled were awarded penalties as it collapsed, each time Heathfield elected for another scrum. Horsham fared no better being forced to concede a third penalty to avoid a push over try; the referee had seen enough and awarded a penalty try that was converted by Matt Skinner. Final score 20-11, Heathfield through to the next round.
Man of the match had to go to a Forward, with Julian Porter (tight head prop) the obvious choice for his consistent work rate and leadership in the tight five.
Match report: Paul Hookway
Julian Porter, Chris Jones, Nick Evens, Kevin Parker, Alex Lester, Matt Skinner, Ivan Downes, Ian Schlieder, Jack Bayley, Brady Burdett, Frazer Richards, Giles Ross, Antoni De Almeida, Matt Overy, Craig Austin-White, Oli Goldsworth, Paul Hookway, Paddy O'Hara