Heath RAMS faced a Mid-Sussex derby as they travelled to Plumpton RFC for the quarter-final of the Harveys Sussex Plate.
In unseasonally bright sunshine the game kicked off with Plumpton playing down the slope and looking to assert home advantage. But it was the visitors who were quickly in the ascendancy spending the first ten minutes camped in the Plumpton 22 and it was no surprise when RAMS scored with Matt Monahan running a line directly from a ruck to score. Skipper Chris Neill converted for 0-7.
ALL ACTION PICTURES BY TOM BURNS
Plumpton hit back with a try of their own to tie the score but it was the RAMS who maintained their domination and on 18 minutes Roscoe Atkins ghosted around the defence to score a converted try for 7-14.
There was no let up for Plumpton as a well organised Heath side continued to apply the pressure and further tries for Dan Fergusson and Monahan with his second saw the RAMS stretch their lead out to 7 -28. A break and kick through from Harry Preston-Bell led to yet another try, converted again by Neill who was giving a kicking masterclass.
At the half time whistle Plumpton were looking dead and buried at 7-35 and when, early in the second half Ali Frazer was put away to outpace the defence down the right wing, it seemed that the match was well and truly over. But trailing 7-42 Plumpton finally sprang into life and pulled a score back. Buoyed by this success they defended the RAMS attacks more robustly and, while the visitors appeared to have taken their foot off the gas, Plumpton scored again to pull the score back to 21-42. With 2 minutes remaining Plumpton managed to get over the whitewash again for 28-14 but the RAMS always had enough in the tank to manage the game to the final whistle.
This was a great win for the RAMS against an experienced Plumpton side based on a clinical first half performance which takes them through to a semi-final against Shoreham 1 at Whitemans Green on Saturday 16 March. This performance shows the depth in the Heath senior squad and bodes well for the end of season run in for both teams.
Heath RAMS squad: Matt Monahan; Will Purdy; Louis Norrell; Dan Shotton; Kenny High; Dan Fergusson; Henry Dickson; Darren Brown; Tom Hicks; Chris Neill (Capt); Louie Dalmon; George Oliver; James Flicker; Dougie Kern; Roscoe Atkins; Harry Preston-Bell; Ali Fraser; Will Giesler