Home success for Heath in tough encounter

Heath come through a tough encounter
Heath come through a tough encounter

On a massive day for English rugby Heath hosted Brighton II at Whitemans Green looking to continue the good form of last week’s win.

The day had started with a number of the senior squad taking part in the 1st Central Insurance Trick Shot Challenge at the Club to launch a skills competition for rugby clubs throughout the country. With a pre-match lunch for supporters plus three World Cup games being shown Live on the Big Screen, the Clubhouse was busy before kick-off.

Heath dominated at the set piece

Heath dominated at the set piece

Heath started slowly, unable to get any continuity and failing to do the basics at the breakdown where Brighton were highly competitive. It was the visitors who would take the first points after 10 minutes with a penalty after sustained pressure, making it 3-0 to Brighton. Heath struggled to get a grip of the game and were repeating the mistakes made in the opening game of the season - playing more as individuals than a team. After 20 minutes Heath finally made some decent territory deep in the Brighton 22 and an opportunistic charge down from captain Dan Fergusson allowed Heath to get on the scoreboard with a touchdown from second row Nick Miller making the score 5-3 to Heath. Even though the home side now had a foothold in the game, they were unable to add further points and continued to be penalised at the breakdown as they failed to work out a way to bypass the Brighton defence.

The score remained the same at half time with Heath turning round to play up the hill. Heath looked more alert after the restart but even though they now had the ascendancy in the forwards, particularly at the set piece, they wasted a number of opportunities to put further points on the board. It wasn’t until nearly 20 minutes had gone in the second half that outside centre Jack Lucas took the ball on the half way, straightened the line with an injection of pace and crashed through a number of tacklers before offloading to Joss Townsend to touchdown. Nerves were settled and fly half Peter Kerins added the extras to make the score 12 -3 to Heath.

Heath were now on top and a strong break down the left wing by Casey Calder allowed quick recycle of the ball for Townsend to smash through four defenders from 15 yards out to score his second try. Kerins hit the conversion to take the score to 19-3. Heath continued to press and even though Brighton managed to clear their lines with a long kick it went straight to Heath full-back Claude Cox who kicked to the corner, chased down the kick and scored himself. Again Kerins put the ball through the uprights to make the score 26-3 with 5 minutes to play.

Heath’s superior fitness was now telling and a raking kick from Kerins from a penalty found touch in the corner allowing Heath to retain possession from the line out. The Heath forwards drove to the line where it looked as if Townsend was going to score his hat trick but he was held up only for second row Tom Burns, returning from injury off the bench, to burrow over the line to make it 31- 3 at the final whistle.

By the end this was a convincing win for Heath although it took the team quite some time to work out where things were initially going wrong on the pitch and how to put it right. The win has moved Heath to within one point of the top of the table and looking forward to the next fixture which is another home game next Saturday against Hove Beefeaters.

Heath squad (replacements in brackets): Duncan Liddell (George Harris); Joss Townsend; Euan Greaves-Smith; Nick Miller; Hugh Erritt; Dan Fergusson (Tom Burns); Josh Salisbury; Ben Davis; Tim Hartley (Pat Pritchard); Peter Kerins; Tim Salisbury; Casey Calder; Jack Lucas; Tyler Edwards; Claude Cox. Captain, Dan Fergusson.

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