Rye 12 vs Heathfield 3rds 10
Heathfield 3rds run Rye close.
This week has not been an easy week for all three Heathfield teams with lots of injuries, holidays and absences leaving every senior side short of first choice players. The managers (and their helpers) must take great credit that despite these unusually low numbers, three sides still took the fields of Sussex (and London) today. Heathfield 3rd team made the longest trip of their season away to Rye with only 14 players but still fancied their chances. However these chances were dealt a heavy blow when the side arrived to find Rye first team (who were also due to play at home) had had their game cancelled. Assurance were made by the Rye management that the starting team would be a genuine 2nd team and Rye even kindly evened the sides up to 15 a piece with the loan of a scrum half which was very sporting.
The game kicked off with Heathfield making the early in roads into the Rye half. The forwards were on top at scrum time with front row James Cooley, Greg Kneller and Oliver Hancock turning on the power and the backs looked dangerous however, some out of practice hands let the attacks down at the last minute and the away side failed to turn this early pressure into points.
The starting Rye team then started to change with a few home side substitutions and the introduction of some strong runners turned the tables and after a couple of missed tackles Rye scored two tries in quite quick succession, converting one gave the home side a lead at half time 12-0.
The feeling in the Heathfield camp at the half time break was that they could still cause Rye some problems and the travelling side started the second half strongly. A couple of good kick and chases took Heathfield deep into the Rye half and after several pick and drives the scrum half (Rye had kindly lent Heathfield) riggled over to score despite some heavy abuse from his home crowd 12-5.
This score lifted the away side and gave them some belief and everyone picked up their game. On came more Rye substitutes but Heathfield’s defence held firm. A couple of try saving tackles from Kenny Lewis and Jack Kent kept the dangerous Rye runners at bay. Julian Wates made a couple of nice breaks and his usual crunching tackles and Paddy O’Hara was having an excellent game at fly half and kicked deep into the Rye half to great effect. Heathfield were unlucky not to close the gap further when a kickable penalty was sadly pushed just wide but from the resulting 22 drop out some blind side work saw prop Oli Hancock crash over 12-10.
This was the last score of the game and Heathfield were happy to kick the ball off the park on the last play to take the loosing bonus point. A fantastic achievement given the circumstances of the game. This was a really enjoyable game, played with intensity but great spirit and Rye were really good hosts. Man of the match was tricky with a fantastic team effort however, Alex Ryde stood out and covered a lot of ground but this week Paddy O’Hara takes the award for his kicking and general play.
Heathfield have played three games since Christmas and lost all three but on all three occasions the opposition’s first team (who all play in Sussex or Kent 1) have been without a game and certainly played at least some part in proceedings. Whilst there is not much that can be done in these circumstances what is telling and a great achievement is that for all three games Heathfields 3rds have finished within 7 points of these teams. Something to be very proud of.
Match Report Simon Hollingdale
Team: James Cooley, Greg Kneller, Oliver Hancock, Kenny Lewis, Paul Hookway, Alex Ryde, Ivan Downes, Ian Schlieder, Paddy O'Hara, Scott Gladwish, Julian Wates, Jack Kent, Mike Brown