Heath u15s travelled to Lewes for their first game of 2019 with the hope of gaining some momentum for the New Year.
With clear skies, minimal breeze and relatively firm ground underfoot, the conditions at Lewes encouraged a bright and fast flowing game.
Early on the game was played tight and narrow with some hard ball carrying through both sets of forwards, especially through Lewes’ props and Heath’s back row. Heath tried to use their pace out wide but were often denied through good touch line defence or the final pass not going to hand. For the first 10 minutes the game was played solely between the 22s until Lewes broke the deadlock. After a period of sustained pressure, particularly at scrum time, the home side’s efforts were rewarded with a try down the left, which was well converted for a 7-0 lead.
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Although Lewes continued to pile on the pressure, Heath were beginning to gain territory and make better progress with the ball in hand as the whole squad, particularly Jahvarnie Clarke and Charlie Clare, worked hard to take control. Lewes were starting to give away penalties at the breakdown and Heath kept increasing the tempo before Sam Sommers went over for Heath’s first try which was converted to bring the scores back level at 7-7.
Although still struggling at scrum time, Heath started to gain ascendency in other key areas, either forcing Lewes to kick under pressure or turning over the ball at the breakdown. Bradley Palmer gained a couple of excellent turnovers and Archie Burchnall tackled hard in defence. It was not long before Jack Flower scored Heath’s second try after good link play between the forwards and backs. The score stood at 7-14 at half time with the momentum firmly in Heath’s favour.
After the break Heath increased the tempo further and continued to break the Lewes defensive line. Sam Sommers picked up his second try with a powerful run down the right flank to make it 7-21 with about 20 minutes to go.
Heath continued to come up strong in defence, forcing Lewes to kick for territory. One kick near the left touchline was charged down by Sam Jones, followed by a sliced kick under Heath pressure which was caught by Bradley Palmer who burst down the wing unopposed to score another try for Heath. With Charlie Clare’s reliable boot converting at every opportunity, the score was now 7-28 to Heath.
Towards the end of the game it was obvious that both teams were feeling the effects of an end to end game with high intensity and commitment from both. Heath scored one final try which was created through intricate back row play before quick hands out wide resulted in Sam Skinner beating the Lewes winger, breaking a covering tackle and squeezing into the left corner. A fantastic try to take their tally to five in the match and solidify a Heath U15s 7-33 win which showed the benefits of clever unit play in close quarters and electric pace out wide - areas the squad has been working on this season and are beginning to put into practice on the pitch.
Heath Junior section across ages 12 to 16, sponsored by California Raisins, welcomes new players at any time so anyone starting the new year with a resolution to play more rugby, visit www.hhrfc.co.uk for more information.