Taking advantage of a brief break in the weather, Heath U14s had home advantage for their final Sussex Waterfall league match before the Christmas break.
Heath played host to visitors Bognor on a slippery but very playable Whitemans Green.
Second-placed Bognor had been desperate for a crack at the U14s and their coaches described putting their squad through a very thorough preparation to be ready to contend with Heath’s strength and reputation.
The U14s are now used to being the scalp all of Sussex want and began the match with steely determination to deal with all this sizeable Bognor team could throw at them.
From the kick off Heath perfectly executed their game plan and it was less than a minute before swiftly recycled ball distributed through the backline gave flying winger Josh Abraham the chance to race around the Bognor defence and score close to the posts before converting his own try.
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Again Heath were swiftly out the blocks from the restart and similar quick ruck ball gave right wing Will Osgood the chance to show his pace to outstrip the Bognor backs and score between the posts.
Again Abrahams converted making the score 14-0. Not content, the U14s continued to play quick rugby and this time it was vice captain Josh Mann who caught Bognor napping with a quickly taken penalty from which he cut through a retreating defence to dive over. Unconverted the score was 19-0 although barely ten minutes of the half had been played.
Bognor were clearly shaken by this excellent start by Heath but having regrouped, they applied a period of sustained pressure on the Heath line, however the defence was solid and the visitors could not find a gap in the defensive wall. A fine clearance kick from Will Galbraith-Gibbons and an attacking line out gave prop Felix Richards the chance to charge his way through the Horsham defence.
A resulting penalty saw fellow prop Charlie Bennett use his power to scatter defenders and set up a ruck from which lively back rower Jack Hewer put in a perfectly weighted kick for flanker and captain Toby Vander to pounce on over the line. 24-0 at half time and the signs were looking good for Heath.
The second half began as did the first with a try.
The excellent Charlie Bennett getting just reward for an industrious display. Heath were now beginning to cut loose and it was the turn of the talented Sam Hardwicke to get in on the action with a try by the posts which Abrahams converted to make the score 36-0.
A second try for Toby Vander from a quick tap penalty sealed the victory but despite the game being over as a contest, Bognor continued to chase hard and to their credit their efforts resulted in a consolation try at the end. The final score was 41-7 and Heath can now enjoy a well earned Christmas break, save only for a brief distraction as the U14s challenge their parents to an hour of touch rugby next weekend!
Heath was rewarded at the weekend by their new junior age group supporter California Raisins who brought samples for the Heath squads to try as a healthy alternative for snacking – proven to be particularly appropriate for active rugby players. For more information see http://www.californiaraisins.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/HAYWARDS-HEATH-RUGBY-LEAFLET-lowres.pdf