Heath U16s took to the pitch following significant overnight rainfall meaning a heavy pitch and a strong cross wind awaited this much anticipated clash between Heath and Chichester - the only two unbeaten teams in the league.
From the kick off, Heath were quickly up on their opponents allowing them little time on the ball and imposing pressure at every opportunity. After only a couple of minutes, with Chichester penned back in their own 22, William Ratoff was able to charge down an attempted clearance by his opposite number and Harry Edwards was on hand to drop on a bobbling ball behind the Chichester line for the first score. William Goodwin converted to make the score 7-0.
A couple of minutes later, after some good hands and approach work, Liam Macauley, who showed some excellent stepping throughout the game, was able to put Barney Scott into space out wide. Scott had the option of either Goodwin or Matthew Cains unmarked on the outside but backed his own strength to burst through for the second score. The conversion missed and so the score moved on to 12-0.
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Heath were on a roll and scored a third try after a deft cross kick from Christian Streater was gathered by the forwards and, following some deft inter-passing, Daniel Grant was able to burrow over for a score close to the posts. Goodwin converted to take the score out to 19-0 with only about 10 minutes played.
The fourth try, to secure the bonus point, came on about 15 minutes, when Christian Streater was able to use his feet to good effect to step and swerve his way past a number of Chichester defenders from close range. Goodwin again converted and so the score stood at 26-0 with only about a quarter of the game gone. Heath U16s had experienced one of their best starts to a match with some superb decision making, handling and interplay between backs and forwards. However instead of moving on and imposing themselves on the game, Heath switched off allowing Chichester to work their way back up field and win a penalty in front of the posts - this was converted to get them on the board at 26-3, which was how the first half ended.
After a stern team talk at half time to ensure complacency wouldn’t continue in the second period, Heath quickly went back on the offensive and Scott was soon able to work his way through the Chichester defence for his second score of the game. Goodwin again converted making the score 33-3.
With their backs against the wall, Chichester created a sustained period of pressure in the Heath 22 and scored a well-taken try in the corner from one of their big running forwards, who was able to break through tackles from a number of Heath defenders, taking them over the line with him. The challenging conversion in a brisk wind was missed and the score stood at 33-8.
Heath played the remainder of the match in the Chichester 22 but were unable to add to their score as Chichester dug in forcing Heath to slightly panic in possession and fail to convert any remaining opportunities, so at the final whistle the score was a good win for Heath by 33-8.
This was a very enjoyable game played in an excellent spirit and Man of the Match for Heath was Bobby Collins for his repeated driving runs and excellent ball presentation. This was another quality performance from a Heath U16 squad that is developing into a serious force in Sussex rugby. Next up for Heath U16, who now top the league table, will be Uckfield on 10thFebruary in what is likely to be a title decider.