Heath’s poor away form so far in 2018 continued on Saturday as they failed to find their rhythm on the pitch and lost to Old Alleynians 35-10.
Difficult terrain underfoot made the opening period tricky for both sides but a penalty to Old Alleynians (OA) meant they took the lead 3-0 and then backed this up with a converted try following end to end opportunities as poor tackling let Heath down and OA took their opportunities with both hands while Heath conspired to miss theirs.
It looked like Heath had put the game back on track when Bobby Conroy-Smith first went close and then rectified previous errors by crossing the try line following some excellent support play from George Davies. Although the conversion was missed with Heath putting points on the board there was hope amongst the travelling supporters that this would be a turning point at 10-5 to OA.
However a loss of concentration and a series of missed tackles meant that OA was able to cross the try line twice in succession. Although only one was converted the scoreline of 22-5 to OA gave Heath a mountain to climb and it was not yet half time. The next score was going to be vital and with the OA full back yellow carded Heath took advantage of the extra man to work the ball through to their number 8 and captain Nick Main, who crashed over the line and, although a much-needed conversion was missed, this try reduced the deficit to 22-10 just before half time.
However what little momentum had been created disappeared as the second half resumed and it became clear this was going to be a tough afternoon for Heath, much of it of their own creation. OA kicked an early penalty taking the score to 25-10 and then gave themselves clear daylight on the scoreboard with a converted try and a 32-10 scoreline. Heath tried to get back on track but lacked their normal steel, composure and dogged ability to wear sides down. OA was awarded a penalty in front of the posts and opted to take the points, leaving Heath unable to add anything to their tally in the second half and the final score remained 35-10. A disappointing result given Heath had beaten OA by a significant margin in the corresponding home fixture earlier this season.
This was a sorry show given Heath’s winning form at Whitemans Green last time out which had seemed to wipe the cobwebs that has been all too evident in their play so far in 2018. The verdict on this match was that there had been far too much poor decision making on the pitch from an unusually tired looking Heath squad. Heath will be hoping for a change of fortunes after another week off giving the squad a great opportunity to go back to basics and train hard before taking on Barking at home on Saturday 3 March – a team firmly at the bottom of London 2 South East with no wins so far this season. Although victory may be expected it will be the nature of the performance and the motivation of the team that needs to improve if Heath are going to end this season in the position they deserve after a relatively good start to the campaign.
The 6 Nations returns next weekend and Heath will be showing the Scotland v England match on the big screen at the Clubhouse for all Heath supporters not lucky enough to travel to Murrayfield next Saturday.
Heath 1st XV squad: Greg Palmer, Wilf Bridges, Sam Beckett, Steve Doku, Dan Shotton, Brett Manefry, Max Drage, Nick Main, George Davies, Peter Kerrins, Roscoe Atkins, Jack Lucas, Robbie Fotheringham, Bobby Conroy-Smith, Henry Warwick, Charles Newey, Henry Dickson, Jamie Diggle