Haywards Heath RFC get 2022 off to a great start while youth are back in action - rugby round-up

The second round of matches in Sussex 2 Premiership saw Heath welcome back Heathfield IIs to Whitemans Green with a side showing showing a few changes from the last league match as again a strong blend of experience mixed with youth was on show with a number of last year's colts.

Conditions were dry although overcast as Heath kicked off up the hill in the first half. Skipper Chris Neill was denied an opening try out wide when the final pass was adjudged to be forward but were quickly on the score board shortly after when a quick tap penalty from Dan Shotton saw the ball moved wide for Alex Chard to go over for the opening score. More Heath pressure led to a scrum on the opposition five metre line and, after an initial drive from Wilf Bridges came up short, James Watson piled over for a try. Tom Wharton converted for 12-0.

Heath's defence was very robust and they were not allowing the visitors to settle or have any time on the ball. Another turnover saw a Heath attack deep into Heathfield territory from where second row Henry Dickson crashed through the tacklers for 19-0.

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Heath Colts put in a strong performance losing out to an experienced Dorking side

After a rare foray into the Heath half the visitors looked to have created a strong attacking opportunity but good work at the ruck by Heath saw Heathfield concede a penalty for holding on. Quick thinking from Bridges saw him kick long with the Heath chasers pinning Heathfield back. An attempt to clear their lines went straight to full back Dougie Kerns who motored in for another score under the posts, converted by Wharton to make it 26-0 at the half time break.

A couple of substitutions before the second half did not change the shape of the game and within minutes of the restart the Heath backs had cut through again to score with Nathan Packham dotting down out wide for 31-0. The scoreboard continued to tick along in Heath's favour with a break from deep being finished off by a rampaging Euan Greaves-Smith followed by another try for Watson after a number of pick and goes from the forwards for 43-0.

Another Bridges break from the restart cut the defence apart and put Tom Wharton in for the score which he converted himself and then more good fluid forward play took Heath up to the line for Chard to score his second of the afternoon.

Heath's mix of youth and experience produced an effective performance to start the new year

Heathfield could be forgiven for chucking the towel in but instead came into their own and spent ten minutes camped on the Heath try line. Whilst the Heath defence creaked and conceded numerous penalties, it remained steadfast throughout and the visitors could not get over the whitewash. Quick ball from the home side saw them move down field again where Heath stalwart Chard dived over for his hat-trick of tries. There was still time for another Heath break to open up Heathfield allowing Evan Herbert to outpace the defence to score. Neill converted for a final score of 67-0.

Head Coach Martin McTaggart was pleased with the performance following on from good numbers at regular training and - with the mix of a couple of players making their debuts, a number of last year’s colts showing their potential as Heath seniors, plus the wise old heads in the team - he felt there was a lot for the players and supporters to look forward to in the second part of the season.

Next week sees another home game for Heath when they will play Worthing Azurians.

Heath Match Squad; Harry Edwards; Gavin Hutt; Euan Greaves-Smith; Dan Shotton; Henry Dickson; Lewis Goodhall; James Watson; Wilf Bridges; Evan Herbert; Tom Wharton; Alex Chard; Harry Sheilds; Chris Neill(capt); Mitch Day; Dougie Kern; Martin McDonagh; Jack Herbert; Matt Ashley.

Heath scored a series of excellent tries showing skill and determination across the squad

Heath Youth back in action

Heath Colts were back for their first action of 2022 which for the first time in a number of years saw the large squad field two sides on the same weekend.

Sunday saw mixed teams sent to Dorking who play in the Surrey league and also to Eastbourne who play in the Sussex Colts Championship. Both teams faced some tough competition and whilst the side at Dorking were quickly into their stride leading 17-5, some key injuries and a second half playing up the hill meant they couldn't hold on, narrowly losing17 -24 against a strong and physical Dorking team.

At the same time down at Eastbourne a scrappy first half saw Heath holding a narrow 15-10 lead. The second half proved to be better for the visitors with Heath stretching away to win 41-17 with some expansive rugby.

A second Colts squad travelled away to Eastbourne winning 41-17

Next week sees a return to Sussex Premiership action for the Heath Colts with a visit from Jersey Reds Colts team on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile the Heath Under 12s Development squad travelled to Edenbridge where they gained some excellent matchplay experience drawing 5-5 against well organised opponents. All new players across the youth section from U6 to U16 and Colts plus the new and exciting U13 Girls squad welcome at Heath any time – email [email protected] for more information.

Heath U12s were away against Edenbridge on Sunday