PRFC Vs Heathfield & Waldron
Pulborough fall short against a dominant Heathfield scrum on VPs weekend.
The brief shower before kick off relented prior to the opening whistle, which meant the substantial VPs crowd had one less excuse to stay inside propping up the bar. Winning the toss Heathfield opted to play up the hill in the first half. The game started off on a fairly even keel, with ‘Borough stringing together some phases in the Heathfield 22m. A knock on led to the first scrum of the day, where Heathfiled had the shove throughout the match, and very much looked to use this as their game plan. With the first score coming from a string of penalties, which Heathfield opted to scrummage over the borough line and come up with the try. 0-5
‘Borough camped in their own 22m once again faced a Heathfield scrum. After negotiating previous scrums very well, considering the pack weight difference (especially on their own ball). The ball was shipped out of the scrum to the Heathfield winger who showed good pace down the wing to score on the right hand side. 0–12
It was now imperative that ‘Borough got the next score to stay within touch. Having previously strung together numerous phases, but lacking the clinical edge to finish. ‘Borough found themselves in a very strong attacking position with some strong kick returns by the back 3. The forwards took multiple crashes, before Frazer Oliphant-Hope took it upon himself to run a great flat line, with Burfiend finding the pass, Frazer put on the leg drive carrying over 2 Heathfield defenders. Half Time 7-12
Upon resuming the half it was paramount ‘Borough scored first. Unfortunately Gue was on call this weekend so had to shoot off to save another life (what a hero), which didn’t help with the power in the scrums. Saying this we still won every ball on our own put in. However a 5min lapse from ‘Borough saw Heathfield cross the home teams line twice. One was a well worked move slicing through the centres, the second a driving line out which was muscled over by the Heathfield forwards. 7-26
Words were had and it was important that ‘Borough regained composure and didn’t let the game slip. In response a pulborough put in to the scrum, which was hurtling backwards and a fair rate of knots, was superbly struck back by Gareth who was returning at Hooker, straight to the feet of no.8 Harrison who managed to pick up the ball under immense pressure, off loading in the tackle to no.9 Burfiend, who in turn managed to force away an offload to Miller, who began hurtling down the left wing giving the VPs something to cheer about. In support was the ever present Nick Haynes, and a few one-two passes the try of the match was scored under the posts. Final Score 14-26
1.Matt Blunden 2.Gareth Nichols 3.Matt Gue 4.Lewis Morton 5.Matt Goring 6.Dan Bullock 7.OJack Leddra 8.Harrison Short 9.Simon Burfiend (c) 10.Frazer Oliphant-Hope 11.Ben Miller 12.Brad Game 13.Ollie Burnett 14.Will Truscott 15.Nick Haynes
Charlie Williams, Ewan Callaway
Throughout the weeks our performances have been improving and I would say we were there or there abouts this weekend. However a lack of training due to weather, and lack of game time due to weather and the fixtures layout meant we lacked cohesion at times. Often forcing the play and offloads. Rather than setting up the phases which resulted in our first try. Credit to Heathfield, as they showed at their place they have a very strong scrum and rightly look to attack around this. Which is hard to stop.
Unfortunately in terms of league standings Heathfield were the team we had to catch for survival. Therefore loosing this weekend has put a significant dent in our survival hopes. However we have seen strange things happen in the past with leagues. So we will look at the rest of the season on a game to game basis, and look to work / build on combinations to ensure we bounce back even stronger next season.
Personell mentions this week - Gareth Nichols returning at hooker massively strengthens the depth of our squad also covering the back row. He was as industrial as ever and played as if he continued on from last season success. Jack Leddra made his first game back for the 1st XV since breaking his jaw in the opening game of the season. It was great to see him back on the park putting in the hard yards. Ollie Burnett was solid at 13 after feeling the need to grace us with his presence, combining well with Mr Game at 12 who ran with great strength. Awkwardly MOM this week was awarded to myself (chosen by the players… not myself. Although I would be inclined to believe their judgment….). I would imagine the decision was down to the fact I played my first ever game at 9, with Frazer at fly half managing to come away with all his ribs in tact and not having slipped a disk bending down picking up balls by his ankles all day.
We have an exciting match coming up on Friday which is the rescheduled game against Old Alleynians. It will be played under floodlights at Blackheath rugby club. We are hoping every other light bulb has blown on the lights / the power is down on them. As we have been training in semi darkness for years so should give us a considerable advantage.
Thank you to all the VPs who despite the unfortunate result cheered on throughout and made it such an enjoyable day to be part of.
Simon Burfiend 1st XV Captain