Heathfield & Waldron 3rds 14 vs Newick 2nds 21
Heathfield 3rds edged out of closely fought semi final
The weather has disrupted the start of 2013 and meant Heathfield 3rd team have only managed one game since before the festive season. This wasn’t the best preparation therefore for a cup semi final against a well drilled and physical Newick 2nd team. When the sides met in the league before Christmas Heathfield had come out on top 29-3 but with Newick 1st team without a game a very different side turned up to Waldron to contest for a place in the final.
Despite the change to opposition the home side started strongly, playing up the Waldron slope in the first half, to start the hill appeared to be no disadvantage and Heathfield were soon camped in the Newick 22. Unfortunately despite a few penalties that were kicked to touch and continued strong carries Newick held on and Heathfield failed to take any advantage of this early pressure. Newick then woke up and started to use their well drilled heavy forwards to great effect. It was then Heathfield’s turn to defend and this they did well. Despite heavy pressure from Newick they restricted the visitors to just two penalties towards the end of the first half 0-6. The sides looked pretty even and with the slope to come in the second half Heathfield were optimistic of a positive second half. Then came the turning point of the game that swung the result in Newick’s favour. Superior numbers out wide resulted in a try right on the stroke of half time. Then at the start of the second half Newick caught Heathfield napping on the blind side and scored again 0-16. This gave Heathfield a mountain to climb.
With the score stacked against them Heathfield possibly relaxed, threw caution to the wind and started to play a more expansive game which suited them better. A smart hook at the scrum from Jack Bayley and quick ball from scrum half Will Chipchase meant fly half Brady Burdett had more time to unleash his wide men and full back Mike Shallcross supported well to outpace the cover and score under the posts. Matt Skinner converted 7-16.
With their backs up Heathfield sensed a come back and struck again shortly after, this time through the forwards. A succession of pick and drives saw Kevin Parker crash through. Again Skinner made the conversion 14-16.
With two points in it the game was now any bodies again and Heathfield pushed on for one final time. Sadly in their enthusiasm they gave away two penalties that meant Newick could march their way back up hill and showing great resolve managed to squeeze over in the corner to take the game 14-21.
Heathfield were certainly rusty after the long break but they should take great credit for taking a very good Newick side so close. A mention should go to Will Chipchase who came on and lifted the temp 2nd half, Jack Bayley was disruptive and tackled superbly throughout as did 2nd row Kenny Lewes and props Porter and Evans were dominant in the scrum but Man of the match this week goes to Matt Skinner who had a truly excellent game.
Match Report: Simon Hollingdale
Kevin Parker, Jono Sharp, Nick Evens, Greg Kneller, Kenny Lewis, Matt Skinner, Alex Ryde, Ian Schlieder, Jack Bayley, Brady Burdett, Matt Overy, Julian Wates, Paddy O'Hara, Simon Hollingdale, Mike Shallcross, Will Chipchase, Julian Porter, Paul Hookway, Mike Brown, Oli Goldsworthy