Heathfield & Waldron RFC U16 v Crowborough RFC U16 – 10th March 2019
Result: 22-31 (win for Crowborough)
With clouds charging across the sky like a hard-running centre in full flight, players and supporters to Cross-in-Hand this morning were greeted to eye-watering and bracing winds sweeping in over the Downs to the west. It was very clear that the weather would play a key part in the rugby that was to follow. With this gale at their backs in the first half, Heathfield kicked off with hopes that they could take early advantage of the conditions. It proved otherwise as, within the first two minutes, the visiting number eight broke a couple of somewhat unconvincing tackles to score under the posts. With the conversion knocked over, 0-7 was the score.
But Heathfield have shown a lot of heart when conceding points in the first few minutes of matches this season and back down the field they drove. A determined tackle by Cameron Reader on the wing, followed by gutsy rucking by Finn Scott-Taggart resulted in a penalty which Tom Reilly punted in to the corner. From the resulting line-out and pressure, Oli Tooke deservedly drove over from short range (perhaps just reward for repeatedly clearing rucks to powerful effect); Reilly’s conversion followed to level the scores. There then followed Heathfield’s best period of play: Hamish McAlister nudged a kick into the same corner and from the resulting untidy Crowborough line-out, Dan Newman threw himself onto the loose ball to score. Further good short-range driving play saw Sam Tiley soon after go over in the left-hand corner to make the score 17-7. Crucially, however, Heathfield could not add further to their tally by half-time despite sustained pressure: a combination of determined Crowborough tackling and some ‘white-line fever’ spreading amongst a few of the home side’s forwards when there was space on the outside saw the half end with the ball held up over the Crows’ line.
Crowborough were now to play the second half with the elements at their back. A penalty was soon neatly slotted from the 22 to close the gap and then one of their reinforcements, who had arrived at half-time, came on at full-back to make a significant difference to the match. Taking the ball at pace on a short pass on his own 22, he ran the rest of the length of the field to score – a very impressive burst. With the conversion sailing over, the scores were now level. A loss of temper from one of the home side’s players led to a yellow card and with sustained pressure now on the Heathfield line, the defence eventually cracked with a Crowborough forward burrowing over; a further try soon followed. On went the remaining Heathfield replacements and with time running out, an outstanding, bustling, run down the left flank by Heathfield skipper Jack Langridge (who had led his team in stirring fashion all afternoon) saw him brush off defenders and stretch out to score in the corner. However, it proved to be the last play of the game with Crowborough running out victors by 31 points to 22.
Team: 1. Jack Langridge (c); 2. George Hayter; 3. Oli Tooke; 4. Freddie McKeough; 5. Ellis Wilson; 6. Sam Tiley; 7. Oli Hunt; 8. Dan Newman; 9. Ben Wyatt; 10. Tom Reilly; 11. Jon Beaton; 12. Stan Campbell; 13. Finn Scott-Taggart; 14. Cameron Reader; 15. Hamish McAlister
Replacements: 16. Jack Durnell (45) for Oli Tooke. 17. Angus Patterson (70) for Cameron Reader; 18. Bradley Scott (75) for ?; 19. Joe Lewis for Freddie McKeough (35); 20. Kieran Dudgeon (75) for Jon Beaton
Scores: 2 mins: Crowborough - try and conversion (0-7); 15: Heathfield - try (Oli Tooke) and conversion (Tom Reilly) (7-7), 22: Heathfield – try (Dan Newman) (12-7); 27: Heathfield – try (Sam Tiley) (17-7); 42: Crowborough – penalty (17-10); 47: Crowborough - try and conversion (17-17); 55: Crowborough – try and conversion (17-24); 62: Crowborough – try and conversion (17-31); 69: Heathfield - try (Jack Langridge) (22-31).