In their first season back in the Sussex leagues, the Heath RAMS travelled down to Falmer to lock horns with the Brighton Medics.
RAMS kicked off to an enormous cheer from the visiting crowd and, after some kicking exchanges, it was time for the first scrum. RAMS scrum creaked and the ball was lost. Medics played with quick hands and numerous missed tackles from the RAMS ended in a score under the posts 7-0. From the restart there were a number of scrums - better this time from the RAMS, winning against the head, but the Medics broke again and the lessons from earlier had not been learnt. Missed tackles a plenty and the Medics scored again 14-0.
The RAMS line-out was creaking, trying to play at the younger team’s pace rather than the measured rugby Heath usually produce. However the uphill battle spurred the RAMS into life, putting through phase after phase and moving slowly but surely towards the Medics line. This was good rugby. But just when the try-line was in sight, RAMS were penalised for holding on and the Medics cleared their lines.
James Wright was making big inroads and Wilf was putting in the big hits. A big rolling maul by RAMS but the referee adjudged it came to a halt - no matter, the scrum was won again against the head.
The Medics were also penalised for a clear trip when the returning Casey Calder had made a break. But Heath could not capitalise and half time arrived with the score 14-0 to the Medics.
A raft of substitutions at half time and the changes paid dividends. From a defensive line out, Jack Bull gathered at the rear and crashed over the try line despite the efforts of four Medic defenders. A more respectable and representative 14-7 scoreboard boosted the RAMS. However the Medics now committed the eternal sin in Sussex League 3 - they kicked a penalty for goal. Divine intervention and the kick was missed. Not content with the first attempt, another penalty led to another kick at goal - this time successful (from just inside the halfway line) meaning two scores were required as Heath trailed 17-7.
The Medics were applying pressure but this was being handled with ease by the RAMS defence, until they all went to sleep and the Medics prop strolled in unopposed under the posts 24-7, but the RAMS did not let their heads drop.
The ‘highlight’ of the game was a streaker on the pitch, a distraction that allowed the RAMS to refocus and put the pressure back on the Medics. Phase after phase. Penalty after penalty.
From the quick tap, the Player’s Player of the Season, Wilf Bridges, crashed over to make it 24-14, with the RAMS having a final say no matter the final score was against them.
As Jody Levett pointed out at the Heath Players’ Dinner that evening, in recent times the players would have sloped off somewhere to lick their wounds - but this band of brothers all stayed to celebrate and congratulated each other on a great season. The RAMS fulfilled every fixture during the 2015/16 season, battled in friendlies against sides in leagues above them, and fought tooth and nail for every single point. This should mean promotion to Sussex 2, but that is yet to be confirmed by Sussex RFU.
The RAMS squad is made up of men aged 21 to 58 and all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for good, committed and social rugby visit the Heath website at www.hhrfc.co.uk to find out more and join Heath this summer for pre-season training and tag rugby sessions.
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