Crowborough 3rds 17 vs Heathfield 3rds 29
3rds defense and counter attack too good for Crowborough
Crowborough 3rds 17 vs Heathfield 3rds 29
All Heathfield senior teams travelled to local rivals Crowborough this weekend for a 3 game show down. The teams staggered kick offs to assist with practicalities in the club house and Heathfield 3rds were the last to kick off in the well received spring sunshine.
Heathfield 3rds have played Crowborough 3rds twice already this season and on both previous occasions run out comfortable winners however, the travelling side were missing a number of their key players today and Crowborough had certainly strengthened their side since the last encounter. An entertaining game ensued.
Heathfield have been slow to start in their last few games but that certainly wasn’t the case today. Within a few minutes after kick off fly half Paddy O’Hara spotted a gap in the Crow defence and sped through, a simply draw and pass from the 10 and then centre Julian Wates gave o/s centre Oli Goldsworthy the space to sprint to the line 0-5 a really well worked first try.
Crowborough came back strongly and began a pattern of play that played out for most of the game. Camped in the Heath 22 the home side simply couldn’t break down an outstanding defence and then with turn over ball secured from the hungry pack, the Heathfield backs set off again. O’Hara with another break and excellent off loading and support gave Goldsworthy his second. Converted by O’Hara 0-12.
Again Crowborough came but again Heathfield held out with some great defence from the whole Heathfield team. The scrum was strong with a front row of Bruno Halit, Craig Martin & Mike Powderly. Scrum half Will Chipchase marshalled his troops well and centres Wates and Goldsworthy in particular were very strong. Several last ditch tackles from wing Overy and forwards Ryde, Lewes and Cooley stopped numerous opportunities for a home score. Just when you thought the flood gates might open Heathfield countered again with a length of the field try. A break from flanker Alex Ryde saw the ball moved through several pairs of hands until No 8 Nick Evens finally crashed over 0-17.
Despite a reasonable lead the talk at half time was that Crowborough would undoubtedly lift their game. However it was Heathfield, again turning defence into attack, that struck again shortly after half time. Full back Joe Hastings ran a bad kick back at the home side and sliced through the cover with some neat skill, eventually brought down deep in the Crow half, some excellent support from Flanker Ryde offloaded to Kenny Lewis to run in under the posts. Converted by O’Hara Heathfield were building a comfortable lead 0-24.
With 20 minutes to play Heathfield scored their fifth and final try. Another break, this time by wing Scott Gladwish was held on the half way but 10 O’Hara was on hand and just had the legs to run the ball in 0-29.
The match report thus far really doesn’t reflect just how much ball Crowborough had and just how much pressure Heathfield soaked up with some first class defence. In every visit Heathfield made to their opponents 22 they came away with points and took their chances when presented which proved to be the difference. The whole team must take great credit for holding the home side out thus far because given their territory and possession the score could have been so much closer. It is well known that it takes up a lot more energy to defend without the ball than it does to attack with it and this showed in the last 10 minutes with most of the Heathfield team on their knees. This was made even worse when Heathfield lost a man to a yellow card for what looked to be a fairly innocuous incident and spent the last ten with 14 men. Crowborough exploited this weariness and scored three late (but well worked) tries in the last ten minutes (a couple of which where the referees decision perhaps didn’t go the way of the away side) but thankfully the gap was too big and Heathfield ended the game deserved winners 17-29. Crowborough were excellent hosts and the beer afterwards was very much appreciated.
This really was a cracking team effort and it’s hard to single out individuals however Chipchase, Wates, Goldsworthy and Ryde all had particularly good games. Man of the match this week though goes to Paddy O’Hara for his breaks, defensive tackling and kicking and a final try.
Bruno Halit , Craig Martin, Mike Powderly, Paul Hookway, James Cooley, Alex Ryde, Kenny Lewis, Nick Evens, Will Chipchase, Paddy O'Hara, Mike Shallcross, Julian Wates, Oli Goldsworthy, Matt Overy, Joe Hastings, Willy Pugh-Jones, Scott Gladwish, Brady Burdett.