Hellingly this week faced East Grinstead looking to secure the championship. With the hard work done in training Hellingly took to the field with massive confidence and an attitude that there could be no other outcome than the win that was needed. The spirit and togetherness that this side has shown this season has been nothing short of remarkable. That together with a magnificent skill set sent Hellingly into the game with fourteen wins and no loses. East Grinstead started the game with a kick off but the fly half did not reach the ten meters and Captain James Grey set out the marker early and called for the scrum. From here the Loonie pack went to work and set the tone for the rest of the half putting pressure on the G’s pack. Yards were gained playing the phases and the G’s defence were penalised for illegal play at the ruck. Scrum was called again and Hellingly reaped the same results as the earlier scrums but this time James Grey took the ball off the back and went over for the first score. A score within the first five minutes was something the G’s most certainly did not expect and had them reeling.
Again from the kick off the G’s fly half did not reach the ten metre line and looked to be under allot of pressure. The G’s came with a clear game plan to disrupt play at the breakdown with aggressive rucking but this led them to concede penalties for being somewhat illegal. When they did have the ball in hand the loonie defensive line was quick and strong. The game line was held and the G’s were struggling to find any success. It was from a quick turnover at the ruck that Hellingly switched defence to attack with speed and accuracy. As he has all season scrum half Dave ‘The General’ Searle showed all the traits of his pseudonym bossing the back line, quickly organising them and moving the ball for Tom Stone to receive out wide and show a clean pair of heels to the G’s defence and go over for the second score. This pattern of play continued with Searle marshalling his troops moving them around the field enabling him to set up each play. The pressure told once again and from another scrum Grey picked up from the base and offloaded inside to Scott ‘The Shadow’ Monk to go in under the posts for the third score.
Grey would continue to impose himself on the game in both attack and defence. His tireless work ethic saw him appear all over the pitch making huge tackles, making assists and scoring. His lead from the front style has no doubt had a big influence on his players this year and has set the tone every game. A slick passing move from the base of the ruck brought the fourth and final try of the half. Searle found prop Jon Tutty whose short run pulled defenders in and as they did the ball was moved wide through the hands of Aaron McCulloch and Matt Sands who found Tom Stone to finish in the corner for his second of the game.
The second half saw both teams raise the intensity and the G’s shortened their penalty count. The physicality from both sides also rose with crunching tackles and very competitive rucking and mauling. It was Hellingly though that kept most of the possession and spent most of the half camped in the G’s territory with wave after wave of attack. It was on 65 minutes when the only score of the half came when a well-rehearsed training ground move saw the pick and go with a short pass from Grey to the oncoming Ian Padget who finished magnificently with the dive under the on coming tackler and into the corner. The G's did not have much in reply after this but remained physical and dogged with lots of hit up rugby from there forwards. When they did move the ball to their backs pressure from the defence caused their backline to make mistakes and confusion was evident from the side lines. Hellingly remained focused until the end and with excellent work again at the breakdown managed to turn the ball over and feed the ball put to Matt Sands and with no time left on the clock kicked the ball into touch. Game over, title secured.
After the game Director of Rugby Dave Sands Said, "The warm feeling inside continues to grow and is almost an uncontrollable fire of happiness. As I have said in previous weeks winning is what I love and winning is key to maintaining the confidence of the team and I know they all love winning as much as I love winning. Winning brings glory and glory that everyone can enjoy. This week saw winning and glory that brought us the ultimate of gloriousness. Securing the league title!!! This is a journey I have been involved in now for years and this season has brought us the glory of that long journey and all the hard work everyone has put in. I am very proud of everyone involved and can only hope that the fire of happiness burns inside them to!! Now we move onto Uckfield in our next game and our glorious goal of achieving the fantastical 100% record. With loving winning as much as I do you can only imagine what that warm fire inside will develop into if we achieve 100%. An erupting volcano of glorious, joyous winning that I will struggle to contain. I look forward to these games with a glorious optimism.
Captain James Grey said, "Extremely proud of what the club has achieved and it means an awful lot to a lot of people in our great club. We will enjoy our achievements tonight but this is something that will only be appreciated in years to come, likely when we retire. The next challenge will be for us to refocus and to keep the unbeaten season challenge alive, whilst at the same time exposing more of our depth in preparations for the next season.
Final Score 29 – 0
Try Scorers: Stone 2, Grey, Monk & Padget
Conversions: Searle 2
M.O.M: James Grey
The club would like to send special regards to three of its players this week, Jack Cowell, Sam Cosham and Tommo Loon who were all injured giving their all for our great club this week. All three players have been instrumental in the clubs progression this year. We wish them a speedy recovery and wish them and their families well. We look forward to seeing you all back at the club soon.