Heath Under 7s, Under10s and Under 11s all competed for their overall Sussex titles on Sunday having qualified at the West Sussex Festival last month.
It really was a case of Carpe Diem for Heath’s Under 7s at Crowborough on Sunday with six little chaps stepping up to the plate and beating a strong Bognor Regis side 7-6, Brighton Blues 9-7 and Heathfield Harriers
9-7 to run out overall winners and Sussex County Under 7s Champions. All very close, competitive matches, with Heath showing their commitment to each other as a team which saw them through the tough battles on the pitch. Their total commitment and focus from the off really paid dividends taking tags and putting the other sides under pressure, forcing errors and winning turnover ball which they capitalised on with strong running and support play which gave them winning scorelines and ultimately the Sussex title.
For the Under 10s, having won the past two years’ Sussex titles the opposition was always going to up their game for the finals day this year. Heath’s opening game was against Chichester whose size and physicality at the breakdown surprised the Heath boys and although Heath spent much of the game camped on or near the opposition try line, the last pass and opening often went begging. Heath’s defence was as solid as always with some crunching tackles at the centre of defence from Bravo, Vander and Tranter. Game drawn 0-0. In the second game was against Crowborough Heath’s passing game started to come together with a comfortable 5 Tries to Nil win, try scorers Galbraith Gibbons, Toomer, MacLeod, Bravo and Batham-Read.
Then with Chichester having also drawn again against Brighton, Heath U10s destiny was in their own hands needing a straight win against Brighton to retain the Sussex title. With Bravo scoring from the kick off the tempo was set and the boys did not disappoint the supporters. Again Heath’s defence held strong and with some quick passing down the line Heath were constantly threatening out wide. Quick rucking allowed the ball to be recycled back through the hands which led to a second Try for Bravo. The second half saw some great defending from both sides but the Heath boys managed to keep the ball alive and were constantly asking questions of the Brighton defence. Again the ball was sent down the line with great vision and recycled with some superb rucking for Bravo to complete his hat trick. A final win 3-0 and the Sussex Title back at Heath for another year! It was a great team effort and particularly good to see that the defence did not concede a try throughout the finals.
Team: Bravo, MacLeod, Walker, Batham-Read, Toomer, Palmer, Mann, Galbraith-Gibbons, Tranter, Melik, Vander
The Under 11s first match was against Chichester, a big, strong and fast team so all was set for a tough test. Heath started with high intensity and kept the ball with fast runners and quick passing wide and some hard, low rucking. Heath scored two tries in quick succession. With Sam and Freddie pulling the strings at 9 and 10 and beautifully-timed runs from Alex O, Ludo, Callum, Toby and Samuela, Heath were soon building momentum and went in at half time leading
3-0. Chichester responded after half time with a well-taken crash-ball from their big ball carrier and some slow, high and uncharacteristically loose tackles from our defensive line. Shaken into action Heath put together some more phases, the forwards winning turnover ball to give a strong platform for the backs to unleash its fast runners and by moving the ball wide Heath grabbed two more tries and with it the match 5-1.
Next up was Jersey, something of an unknown quantity. However Jersey started brightly and although Heath scored first with a slashing move involving fast hands from Freddie and Alex to Samuela to finish off, they dropped their concentration a little and allowed Jersey a well-worked try to draw level leaving the score at 1-1 at half-time. Heath resumed with high intensity and competed harder at rucks and stole ball at opposing mauls to again ship the ball wide, on both wings to steal four fast tries to win the game 5-1.
The final match was against a strong, fast and elusive Lewes side who had some tricky players requiring some special attention. Lewes grabbed the first try and put Heath under pressure from the off. However, as is usual with the Heath battle-hardened U11s (many of whom have been playing at Heath since they were 5) they chose not to buckle but instead tightened up and trusted their team mates. They went forward, competed hard for the ball, secured it and with great and quick continuity attacked with precision. The steady trickle of pressure brought deserved Heath tries, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2 and finally 5-2 were testament to an all-round, team display which confirmed what the spectators had seen: worthy Sussex U11 Champions for 2015.
A fantastic outcome for all three age groups showing the strength and depth of mini and junior rugby at Heath.