Heathfield RFC colts sign off with a Tun of fun - Lewes colts win 55-0
The rugby season ended for Heathfield Colts with a draw and a win in a triangular mini-tournament involving Tunbridge Wells and a youthful East Grinstead team.
Heavy rain starting half an hour before kick-off had a definite impact on play in the first game, a low-scoring affair against Tunbridge Wells.
There were too many errors by both sides and much of the play involved old-fashioned kick and chase. Heathfield probably had the better of possession in the first period but both sides saw scoring chances fail as five-metre lineouts went wrong.
Tom Sayers and Cam Reader put in important tackles while Jack Dunnell and Harry Slinhawkins made good ground ball in hand.
However Heathfield were handicapping themselves as they attracted a sequence of penalties.
In the end, Wells broke the deadlock in the second half – a neat chip through bounced kindly for the chasing wing who sped through to score a good try under the posts.
Crucially, what seemed a relatively straightforward conversion clanged back – and not over – from the crossbar.
Heathfield were not done though: back down the field they went and a fine move, combining backs and forwards, created space out wide for Kieran Dudgeon to finish well on the left. The conversion also failed so the game was a 5-5 draw.
The weather had improved for Heathfield’s second game, against hosts East Grinstead. Better conditions allowed the backs to play a more constructive role with Finley Smith at fly half making several skilful runs.
Callum O’Reilly drove on and Sam Tiley finished well with a low determined drive for the opening score. Tom Reilly converted from out wide.
At the start of the second half East Grinstead replied with an unconverted try from a five-metre tap penalty. However Heathfield finished the stronger as forwards Jack Flint, Ollie Tooke and George Hayter were prominent ball in hand. Hayter produced a lovely pass to Toby Anderson who found Finn Scott-Taggart to finish well in the right hand corner.
Tooke went close before Callum O’Reilly forced his way over in the last play of the game – and season – for a final score of 5-17.
The previous week Heathfield had entertained Lewes Colts. The visitors built a 3-27 lead but Heathfield gradually clawed their way back into the game through tries by Sam Tiley, Dan Newman and two for Hayter.
However Lewes also picked up a couple more tries and were 27-37 winners.
Uckfield Colts 0
Lewes Colts 55
Lewes had a warm welcome from Uckfield and arrived with an even larger squad as 29 players got ready to get stuck in.
Everyone played at least half a game – showing the strength in depth of the squad as there was no dip in performance or ability after substitutions.
At one stage they made 14 changes in one go and the tries kept on coming.
Just after kick-off the heavens opened and although Lewes created great early opportunities, the greasy ball forced a few handling errors when a try was on the cards.
As the rain eased and the sun appeared, handling improved and Ben Goode opened Lewes’ account with a fine try. The forwards began to find space and Lewes bashed some impressive holes in the Uckfield defence before unleashing the backs, who have pace to burn and no shortage of talent.
The tries started to come regularly, one in particular a thing of beauty passing through seven or eight pairs of hands before being finished off by Geordie for one of his four tries.
To Uckfield’s credit they really stuck to their task, creating several opportunities of their own but Lewes’ defence was solid and it was great to see, from a coach’s perspective, that the team were just as delighted with no tries conceded as they were with the nine scored.
Scrum-halves Dante and Henry had very accomplished games.
There was a real buzz about the whole team as the two age groups combined really well.