Burfiend praises much-changed Pulborough’s defensive display

Pulborough (balck and white) v Hastings & Bexhill. 21-03-15.JPCT. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150323-145454001
Pulborough (balck and white) v Hastings & Bexhill. 21-03-15.JPCT. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150323-145454001

Pulborough captain Simon Burfiend praised his side’s defensive display despite a 22-3 defeat away at a wet and windy Heathfield.

After back-to-back wins in London South East 3, Pulborough were forced to make ten changes from last week’s home win over Uckfield.

That, coupled with the conditions and playing into a strong wind in the second half when they already trailed 10-3, saw them return home empty handed.

Burfiend, however, was pleased with their defensive showing and believes it highlights how far his side has come.

He said: “In previous matches we have spoken about the importance of bonus points in this league and it was a real goal of ours not to allow Heathfield a winning bonus point which helped drive the defence who fought valiantly to deny them.

“In the past, we have found ourselves falling off when times are getting tough which has seen teams run away with the match, so although we didn’t get anything from the match points wise, it is an indication of our progression as a squad.

“With ten changes from last week’s starting line up a fair bit of effort was put in to field a side this weekend, which should not be the case in a first team. However saying that the commitment from these players stepped is appreciated.

“It was always going to be a challenge playing a top-three side away, but with 10 changes as a squad we didn’t really help ourselves.”

With the toss won, Pulborough opted to play with the elements at their back and made the most of some early pressure with the pack securing good ball and field position.

A fine box kick from scrum half Harry Bullock saw winger Will Scrase chase onto the ball and was very unfortunate not to score the opening try of the match as it bounced just away from him.

Pulborough did come out of the first 10 minutes with something to show for their possession through a penalty infant of the posts by Frazer Oliphant-Hope.

The large Heathfield pack then got themselves into the game and made the most of the poor conditions by keeping the ball in tight around the fringes and performing well at scrummage time.

Amidst the ever-worsening conditions, Pulborough did find themselves with another penalty on the halfway line which was just pushed wide by Frazer.

Heathfield then drove over a Pulborough scrum and scored through some quick thinking by the scrum-half. The visitors had at least three opportunities to use the wind and clear their lines, but failed to make touch which allowed the Heathfield back three to run the ball back in to score.

The home side converted and then added a penalty before half-time for a 10-3 lead.

With Pulborough playing into a strong wind, they played the majority second half on the back foot and they ran in two more tries, despite a good defensive effort by the visitors.

Burfiend added: “It must be said that the defensive effort in the second half by Pulborough was resilient and you could see from the boys that a lot of heart was put into defending our line.

“Especially from debutant colt 17-year-old Luke Kilford who had one of the best defensive displays I have seen from a fly-half, not even taking into account his age, in a long time.”

Pulborough: Blunden, G.Oliphant-Hope, Cabanna, Nicholls, Baldwin, Bullock, Jack Leddra, Chenoweth, Bullock, Kildford, Perry, Burfiend, F. Oliphant-Hope, Scrase, Lee. Subs: Hitchcock, Miller, Hartley.