It was time for the Heath U16s to blow away the new year cobwebs with a welcome return to the rugby field and a run out against the best side in Sussex.
Horsham were missing a larger number of their players to County duty than Heath, however they could field a strong team which became evident after a ten minute spell of equal sparring, when Horsham were able to break free from a couple of tackles to go 0-7 up.
Heath responded quickly to the challenge with Oliver Owens playing at centre breaking free after some good approach work from Liam McCaulay, to score in the corner. This was superbly converted by Christian Streater from out wide to level the scores at 7-7.
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The first half was a fairly even affair with both sides producing some excellent rugby which was contributing to a very enjoyable, if occasionally feisty, game for the spectators. It looked like this would be the half time score until Christian Streater saw some space behind the on-rushing Horsham defence to land an excellent cross kick around their 22. Mitchell Day won the race for the ball and was able to show good footballing skills to dribble it over the line and then drop on it for the score. The conversion was missed and so Heath led 12-7 going into the break.
With Heath now playing up the slope in the second half, a number of changes gave the whole squad some valuable pitch time. Heath adjusted quickly and set off on the offensive with one of the new arrivals, Daniel Grant working hard in contact to crash over from close range extending Heath’s lead to 17-7. Heath were now firmly in the ascendancy and Tom Roberts was able to wriggle over for the next score after a Bobby Collins try had been disallowed. This took the score out to 22-7 and Daniel Grant then worked hard again in contact to break through for his second try and a comfortable 27-7 lead with about 10 minutes remaining.
However, Heath lost their discipline and an infringement meant they lost focus too, allowing Horsham back into the game. This culminated in a well worked try in the corner and a superb conversion by the visitors to take the score to 27-14, which was how the game stood at the final whistle.
An excellent performance from all of the Heath squad however, the coaches unanimously awarded man of the match to the Heath fly half, Christian Streater, for some excellent kicking out of hand, as well as his distribution and game management. Next weekend it’s back to league action for the U16s with a resurgent Edenbridge travelling to Heath.