Heath were frustrated on Saturday finding the marginal calls going against them as they travelled to Kent for a match that was determined by a couple of controversial decisions, writes Peter Dickson.
Heath started strongly and within ten minutes of kick off, Josh Salisbury had scored the first try - a trademark burst through the middle of an attacking ruck on Deal’s 22 metre line.
He did not have that far to gallop on a smaller than usual pitch that allowed the opposition to make good use of home advantage with their direct approach. A Deal penalty was soon followed by another Heath try from Wilf Bridges - this one converted by Henry Warwick, to give Heath an early 12 – 3 lead.
Despite another well-deserved try by Wilf Bridges, after a sustained period of team pressure in the Deal 22, a very promising start by the visitors did not materialise into a successful afternoon.
While the Heath defence was an expected strength, the forwards had hardly any opportunity or space to unleash their backs from set piece play.
A highly unusual interpretation of scrummaging laws, which put the pack on the back foot at most scrums after the first ten minutes, did little to help Heath play their game.
Heath were also denied a winning (and bonus point) try when Jamie Diggle, ball in hand, was almost decapitated on the line.
After a lengthy period of recovery, he was further denied five minutes later after touching down from the subsequent tapped penalty when the final pass was adjudged forward by an official who even the independent spectators agreed was not best positioned to make such a marginal call.
Gareth Fergusson, captain for the day, led by example throughout, influencing probing attacks and maintaining sound defence. Joss Townsend was man of the match for his outstanding intensity and contribution throughout a difficult encounter.
Heath will be hoping for a better outcome in the next match which is sure to be a competitive local derby against Hove at Whitemans Green next Saturday. Heath Rams are also scheduled to play Crawley at Home next weekend with both matches kicking off at 3pm.
Heath 1st XV Squad: Jack Bull; Joss Townsend; Euan Greaves-Smith; Dan Fergusson; Steve Doku; Wilf Bridges; Josh Salisbury; Gareth Ferguson (Capt.); Brett Menefy; Jim Taylor; Jamie Diggle; Jack Lucas; Max Drage; Roscoe Atkins; Henry Warwick.
Subs: Chris Neill; Huw Jenkins; Sam Galbraith. Half time changes: Euan Greaves-Smith rested, Joss Townsend to tight head, Wilf Bridges to hooker, Huw Jenkins to blindside flanker.