A comfortable points victory for Heathfield

HEATHFIELD & Waldron secured a comfortable bonus point win by nine tries to one against the bottom team in the league, beating Old Mid-Whitgiftians 61-0 in London 2 SE.

The bonus point was secured well before half time as the visitors achieved little possession so they were always on the back foot.

Conditions underfoot were good and with little breeze there could be no excuses so the sizeable home crowd in front of the clubhouse enjoyed a good day as the run of nine consecutive losses was emphatically ended.

Early enthusiasm meant the visitors were first on the scoreboard with a penalty after three minutes but almost immediately the home team swept down the slope.

Ollie Brown skilfully secured a bouncing ball on the run providing impetus for that movement and the team as a whole, with good handling giving Chris Elliott the first of his three ties on the day, Ethan Walker converting (7-3).

Brown was next on the scoreboard with a characteristically pacy run that was followed soon afterwards by Elliott with a cheeky show and go – all the way to the try line (21-3).

A few minutes later Ollie Robertshaw exploited the home scrummage dominance for a pushover bonus point try although Walker had his only kicking failure on the day with the conversion (26-3).

Heathfield’s overall dominance may have led to some complacency and the Midwives now surprisingly won a scrum against the head.

This was followed by the only period in the game when the visitors had any consistent possession and they duly collected a deserved try (26-10) just before half time.

Under serious pressure the visiting half backs often did well and they clearly have some talented backs but rugby cannot be played successfully without possession. The Heathfield scrummage had almost complete dominance and, with Steve Petersen making a welcome return from injury, the home lineout was generally secure. Ollie Smith and Ben Inglis were noted making some effective carries.

Ten minutes into the second half Elliott completed his try scoring for the day (33-10). Walker again converted and could have had a try himself soon afterwards but for what was adjudged a forward pass – one of several decisions on the day that many in the crowd felt were sympathy votes.

Walker was now replaced by Harry Clewly and Tom Pritchard took over from Robertshaw.

As the game entered the final quarter Tom Sheffield finished with pace and Clewly converted (40-10).

Clewly then had a combative run on the right wing that eventually led to a try for Bryn Jones who increasingly enjoyed the gaps that were starting to appear (47-10).

Clewly was also involved in another breakout from which a visitor received a yellow card and efficient forward work utilised the good position for Kobe Tonkin to collect deserved reward for his overall efforts (54-10).

The last score fell to the ageless Simon Wilson who had become increasingly effective in the last quarter making many hard yards and he duly bullocked his way over allowing Clewly to convert the hardest kick of the day (61-10).

Heathfield coach Dave Jones commented that this was a result that had been waiting to happen as hard work in training finally paid off.

With all three Heathfield teams winning, there was a very positive feel in the clubhouse afterwards and the first team will be looking forward to the remaining games.

On Saturday March 24 (3pm) Heathfield entertain Sevenoaks who are only just above them in the table with Tunbridge Wells and Deal close behind in what could be a tense final few weeks.