Former Heath juniors continue to make their mark

James Chisholm talked about his injury layoff and his desire to get back on the pitch with Quins at the recent fund-raising Heath City Lunch
James Chisholm talked about his injury layoff and his desire to get back on the pitch with Quins at the recent fund-raising Heath City Lunch

Heath Minis, Juniors and Colts have had as big an impact on the professional game as any Sussex rugby club with rarely a week passing without news of a former young player, by Alan Jenkins. Three of them have been in the rugby news this week, writes Alan Jenkins.

Hot on the heels of his recent appearance at the Club’s fund-raising City Lunch, Club members were delighted to hear that James Chisholm made his long-awaited return to the Harlequins line-up as the team put in a powerful and winning performance against Worcester Warriors on Saturday. Lining up in the back row alongside former England captain Chris Robshaw, James said in his post-match interview how pleased he was to be back in the fray after a seven-month lay-off with injury.

Pushing towards fifty England caps and with midweek appearances for the British and Irish Lions on their summer tour to New Zealand, Joe Marler found himself cited and suspended for an on-field misdemeanour against Wasps. Originally due to miss both Argentina and Australia fixtures in England’s autumn internationals series, Joe’s ‘sentence’ was reduced on appeal, so he’ll be back in the frame for the match against Australia as well as Samoa.

On a sadder note, Ben Broster, who joined Heath as a 13 year-old, has retired due to recurrent injury. Ben had successful spells for Saracens, Wasps, Northampton, Scarlets and, for the past five years, has been plying his trade in France for Biarritz and Bayonne. Ben picked up two full Wales caps and his red shirt hangs in the Clubhouse alongside the white shirts of quite a few others, including James and Joe. His Junior and Colts coach at Heath, Richard Tibbott - fresh from completing a 800kms fund-raising trek along Spain’s Compostella Way supported by other Heath members - paid tribute: “Ben has been wholly committed to the game and his teammates since he joined Heath as a 13 year old. There have been many highlights including his two Welsh caps. We know though that he still remembers his key role in the Heath Colts Cup-winning team in 2008. We wish all the very best to Ben and his family.”

Haywards Heath Rugby Club is proud to see so many former junior players making the grade in the senior teams and in the professional arena at club and international level. The Club will be following the fortunes of its former players - be it James or Joe or others such as James Lasis and Jake Henry at Rotherham RFC or Perry Parker who plays in Italy - this coming season.