A BRAVE effort from Horsham Under-14s in their County Final was just not enough for victory as Heathfield & Waldron emerged as deserving champions.
A well organised Heathfield side like to play with the ball in the forwards, stepping up quickly from defence whilst keeping their shape, and they contained Horsham, who struggled to get any of their trademark play going in the backs.
Horsham seemed unable to get the ball down the line and get their quick players away.
When winger Matt Collier did receive the ball he invariably made 50 metres, but he only got the ball three times in the match.
Horsham’s one clear area of superiority was in the scrummage where the front three of Rhodri Martin, Todd Lowe and Bryn Bloodworth were effective all through the match.
Tom Hooley at lock was energetic and made good cover tackles, whilst skipper Paul Schroter and No. 8 Duncan Watkins were fiercely competitive, and led by example.
The Green & White’s tactic of kicking for touch, both from penalties and in open play, was misfiring as Heathfield regularly secured good ball at the resultant line outs.
Heathfield scored the opening try from a penalty deep in Horsham territory, flanker Nick Cook running in, and soon after winger Ben Boorman dived over for their second try. Neither were converted as Heathfield led 10-0.
To their credit Horsham stormed back and made steady territorial progress in the Heathfield half after winning two important scrums.
From the ensuing pressure Horsham won a penalty, and Callum Boswell showed quick thinking and passed to Watkins who powered over the line for Horsham’s only try. Boswell converted and it was game on at 10-7 at half-time
The second half demonstrated why these are the top two U14 teams in Sussex. Good scrummaging from Horsham here, great mauling from Heathfied there.
Man of the Match Watkins and captain Schroter continuing to compete for everything, but it was Heathfield who scored the crucial try, James Pancaldi sealing a 15-7 win for Heathfield after some brave Horsham defending.