It was clear from the first whistle that the long trip away to Thanet was going to take a while to work its way out of the Heath players’ legs and the first quarter of the match was a very one-sided affair with the home side dominating possession and territory.
Heath looked like they could be blown away by the Thanet whirlwind and an early try led to a 5-0 deficit. Heath didn’t help themselves and a high tackle shortly after led to the Thanet kicker converting the penalty to put the home side ahead 8-0.
Thanet’s big pack continued to hold the upper hand in the conditions and on 18 minutes the lead was extended still further with another try that was this time converted for a significant 15-0 lead. At this stage of the game things appeared grim for Heath and it looked as if a long afternoon and heavy defeat was in store as Thanet grew in confidence.
On 20 minutes Heath regained their mojo and managed to get on the board with a penalty of their own for 15-3. All of a sudden the momentum began to shift and Heath started to take control of the match playing the far more adventurous rugby and putting the home side on the back foot. Thanet were unable to hold out and five minutes before half time Jamie Diggle crashed over for a try and the scoreline closed to 15-8.
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Continuing where they left off after the break, Heath maintained their pressure and from a line out deep in Thanet territory, Gareth Fergusson was able to drive over for a try which was converted by Casey Calder and the scores were suddenly level at 15-15. The Heath team continued to work hard and pulled out all the stops to get the win, but couldn’t get back over the whitewash or force the decisive penalty against a resilient Thanet defensive effort. The Heath storm eventually blew itself out and they were a tired looking side in the final few minutes as the match played out for the draw.
Thanet has always been a tricky away trip and so to come back with 2 points after being 15-0 down can be considered points gained as opposed to points dropped.
Heath will be looking to get back to winning ways next weekend in a Sussex derby against Heathfield in which they will be seeking revenge against the visitors after an early season away defeat. With Christmas lunch being served in the Clubhouse pre-match, there is sure to be considerable Heath support on the touchline as excitement grows regarding the new Clubhouse development project, supported by the Club’s main sponsor Fairfax and its education foundation Fairfax Building Young Futures.
Heath RAMs were on the end of a hard fought defeat against regular rivals Horsham 2 going down 17-45.
Heath 1st XV Squad: Greg Palmer; Will Purdy; Charles Newey; Dean Garry; Gareth Fergusson; Steve Doku; Josh Salisbury; Sam Drage; Brett Menefy; Casey Calder; Matt Ashley; Jack Lucas; Jamie Diggle; Roscoe Atkins; Charlie Best; Robbie Fotheringham; Charlie Milner.