Heathfield & Waldron sporting fetching pink shirts deservedly won a tight encounter by three tries to a try and a conversion from the Green & Whites. Heathfield tend to like to play with the ball in the forwards. In defence they step-up quickly, whilst still keeping their shape. Well organized, competitive in the loose, and dominant at the line out, Heathfield contained Horsham who struggled to get any of their trademark play going in the backs. Horsham seemed unable to get the ball down the line and get their pacier players away. When winger Matt Collier
did receive the ball he invariably made 50 metres, but he only got the ball three times in the match.
Horsham’s one clear area of superiority was in the scrummage where the front three of Rhodri Martin
, Todd Lowe
and Bryn Bloodworth
were effective all through the match. Tom Hooley at lock was energetic and made good cover tackles, whilst skipper Paul Schroter
and No. 8 Duncan Watkins were fiercely competitive, and led by example.
The Green & White’s tactic of kicking for touch, both from penalties and in open play, was misfiring as Heathfield regularly secured good ball at the resultant line outs. As Heathfield pressed, they won a penalty deep in Horsham territory, and receiving a long pass out wide, flanker Nick Cook ran in a simple try. Not long after, Heathfield made a break from a scrummage 7 metres out. Despite a solid covering tackle from two Horsham players, Heathfield recycled the ball quickly, got the ball out wide again and winger Ben Boorman headed for the corner and scored a second try. Neither try was converted, 0-10 to Heathfield.
To their credit Horsham stormed back and made steady territorial progress in the Heathfield half after winning two important scrums. From the ensuing pressure, a penalty was conceded by Heathfield. Callum Boswell
showed quick thinking and passed to Watkins who powered forward and drove over the line for Horsham’s only try. Boswell converted. Game on, 7-10 at half-time.
The second half demonstrated why these are the top two U14 teams in Sussex. It was very tight and attritional. Good scrummaging from Horsham here, a great driving maul from Heathfield there, Man-of-the-Match Watkins and captain Schroter continuing to compete for everything. Heathfield attacked with purpose, probing for gaps in the Horsham defence. As the half wore on it became clear that the next score would probably win it. Heathfield’s influential scrum-half Callum Harvey applied pressure. Horsham defended well on and around their own 5 metre line. However right at the end Horsham failed to secure a bobbling ball and Heathfield’s James Pancaldi pounced sealing the win for Heathfield & Waldron with a simple touch down. Final score 7-15