Hat trick of tries seals emphatic Haywards Heath victory
After a week in which they had beaten fellow table toppers Midhurst and featured on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight live programme, Heath were in determined mood to kepp the winning momentum on what was only their second home game of the season.
Led out by skipper Nick Main on a balmy October afternoon a young Heath team, with the exception of veteran former captain Alex Meredith making his first start of the season, faced a Shoreham side who were sitting in mid division.
For the second week running Heath took early control of the game culminating in 11 tries over the 80 minutes, three scored by a rampant Robbie Fotheringham.
Shoreham started brightly driving the ball deep into Heath territory before conceding a penalty. The home team immediately showed their ambition choosing to run the penalty from their own 22, moving it quickly wide left to winger Jamie Diggle who from inside his own half managed to beat three defenders on the outside before going under the posts to score. Extras were added making it 7-0 after only 5 minutes.
This first score was to set the tone for the rest of the afternoon and the home side were back on the scoreboard again after 20 minutes with some sterling work from the forwards leading to Joss Townsend pounding through the defence to score. 12-0.
From the kick off Shoreham applied pressure with a couple of their lively backs looking dangerous, but Heath was in no mood to surrender ground and gained control of the battle up front. This dominance led to another scrum deep in the Shoreham half and the pressure from the Heath eight lay the groundwork for open-side flanker Henry Dickson to poach a try. 17-0. Shoreham’s restart was gathered in by Sam Drage who with a sweet offload set Robbie Fotheringham away to score his first try of the afternoon just before half time.
Another big crowd at Whiteman’s Green were enjoying the style and inventiveness of the home side’s play and were vociferous in their support. At the break Heath’s 22-0 lead had created a platform and the introduction of substitutes for the second half meant there was no easing up with the home team picking up where they had left off . With 5 minutes gone after good territory gained by the pack Sam Drage was able to pick up from a ruck and outpace the defence to score. Just four minutes later Heath were on the rampage again breaking out of defence through Diggle who opened up the field and fed an inside pass to Jack Lucas taking the score, with the aid of a Fotheringham conversion to 34-0.
The Heath forwards continued to impress with captain Main instrumental in keeping the home side on the front foot. A Heath line out on the Shoreham 22 generated a driving maul from which Sam Drage unleashed another attack touching down for a score which when converted made it 41-0. Heath were now in full flow and it was only a couple of minutes later when Fotheringham was able to side step the defence and run in another try from the half way line. Tries were coming thick and fast and it wasn’t long before outside centre Lucas was stretching his legs from his own half and scoring to push the scoreboard on further. The visitors remained unbowed and with about 5 minutes to the final whistle made inroads into the Heath 22 . Their chip through was picked up behind his own posts by substitute Heath full back Sam Jeffries who instead of putting in the obvious clearance kick, jinked his way out of defence up to the 22 beginning a sweeping move from which Heath took full advantage of the tired Shoreham legs. The ball was offloaded to Diggle who scythed through the Shoreham midfield taking the ball into the visitors half before drawing the opposition full back and releasing the supporting Tim Salisbury who scorched in under the posts. The conversion made the score 60-0.
Heath were not finished and in the final minute a delicious offload from second row Nick Miller put Fotheringham in for his hat trick and a personal haul for the day of 23 points which left a final score of 65-0. Another victory which keeps Heath at the top of the league and displays a growing confidence after building on the early season wins. There were strong performances throughout the team with Fotheringham and Diggle sharing the supporters’ Man of the Match award. After the game the crowd gathered on the deck outside the clubhouse as James Tierney presented Jack Lucas with a magnum of champagne for his Player of the Month Award for September, sponsored by The Tierney Wealth Consultancy. Next week Heath are back on their travels with a local trip away to Newick - all support welcome as Heath continues to enjoy its adventures this season.