With a gusty wind sweeping across a steeply sloping pitch, Heath squared up against Horsham on Saturday in a feisty pre-Christmas encounter.
Both the turbulent weather conditions and a challenging pitch saw both sides testing each other during in the opening minutes.
The uneven ground led to many missed footings and slips throughout the game and, most seriously, saw Guy Sandys-Renton leave the pitch with what looked like a serious knee injury after his first start at 9 this season. This meant Sam Galbraith was on the pitch at full back with Jack Best moving into an unfamiliar position at scrum half.
Eventually Peter Kerins, who was yellow carded early on for a misdemeanour, broke the deadlock with a try and conversion putting Heath ahead on the scoreboard. Play continued back and forth with both sides challenging each other to the max before Horsham pressure told and they eventually equalised just before half time making the score 7-7 at the break.
The second half saw Heath playing downhill with the wind behind them and Roscoe Atkins collected from midfield and kicked down field surprising the Horsham number 15 who misfielded enabling Roscoe to collect after a 40 meter chase and go over the line to score. A successful conversion by Kerins followed and put Heath back in front, 7-14.
Fresh legs were required and Dan Fergusson and Wilf Bridges were replaced by Patrick Sandys-Renton and Huw Jenkins who sneaked a kick through towards the Horsham line for Jack Lucas to touch down and Kerins to convert giving Heath more breathing space in their quest to maintain their league position, 7-21.
Horsham had not given up and an interception followed by a run of over three-quarters of the pitch saw Horsham go over the line and score but with no conversion the score was still in Heath’s favour at 12-21.
Heath retaliated with fast, safe hands moving the ball quickly down the line to Jack Lucas who scored in right hand corner, 12-26. Heath were not finished and after another period of sustained pressure, Heath took the ball in hand allowing captain Casey to take control and go over the line and complete his duties with a successful kick between the posts.
Frustrations throughout the game kept the ref busy but at the final whistle the score stood at Horsham II 12 - Heath 33 meaning Heath takes a one point lead at the top of Sussex Spitfire League 1 into the Christmas break.
Heath 1st XV squad:
1.Duncan Liddell; 2.Wilf Bridges (Patrick Sandys-Renton); 3.Karl Wicking; 4.Tom Burns; 5.Steve May; 6.Dan Fergusson (Huw Jenkins); 7.Josh Salisbury; 8.Hugh Erritt; 9.Guy Sandys-Renton (Sam Galbraith); 10.Peter Kerins; 11.Jamie Diggle; 12.Casey Calder (Captain); 13.Jack Lucas; 14.Roscoe Atkins; 15.Jack Best.
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