With just five Crowborough players appearing from the corresponding fixture last season, and Heathfield haemorrhaging players in recent weeks, the anticipated local derby classic proved nothing more than a damp squib.
With both sides in the wrong half of a tight league table, the understandable nervousness resulted in a stop start match characterised by poor handling, dropped passes and questionable decision making by both teams, offset by some excellent defensive work that kept the first half score to two Matt Tyler 45-metre penalties to one long range effort by Heathfield (3-6).
With 65 minutes played, Crowborough at last managed to put a series of phases together in their opponents’ half, that released Michael Waghorn who made a decisive break in the centre, drawing the cover before passing to Andy Walters. With Tyler and Matt Eyers in support, Walters looped a pass over Tyler to Eyers who sprinted for the line, only to be brought down 10 metres short. The Boro pack were first to the breakdown and as the ball started to emerge on the home side an errant Heathfield boot kicked the ball though into the grateful arms of the arriving Harry Slatter. On seeing a gaping channel opening up, he took full advantage to put the ball down under the posts for Tyler to convert (3-13).
With time running out and Boro showing a renewed confidence now they had a two-score advantage, the hosts started to go through the phases and put together several positive plays that were halted short of the Heathfield line.
Keen not to be outdone and anxious to get at least a losing bonus point, Heathfield cast caution – but, unfortunately, accuracy – to the wind as, on the point of creating a fine attacking move they saw a final pass intercepted by Sean Derrick, who sealed the win with a Tyler-converted try (3-20).
London 2 South East league takes a break this weekend.