U15s lose in tight game against Fordingbridge
By Darren Long
Unlikely errors prove costly
Our second League match saw us travel to Fordingbridge on a bright and sunny morning. We had high hopes of our first win this season and after a short warm up and run through we were ready for kick off.
Despite losing the ball at from the kick off the forwards worked hard and some fantastic counter rucking gave us possession. The ball was passed to Charlie who made ground and then on to James who weaved his way forward. James found Will in support, who opened up his legs and ran through the defence and then evaded their full back to run nearly 60 metres and score under the posts. Charlie kicked the conversion and it was 7-0 to Heathens. What a great start.
The lead didn’t last for long though, a solid Fordingbridge scrum was a good platform for the backs to move the ball right and a missed tackle out wide allowed them to run around our covering defence and score under the posts. Successful conversion so score was 7-7.
The next five minutes of play saw Heathens turn over possession through Dom and Josh attacking the ruck and also due to a fine tackle by Zack. Unfortunately it seemed that every time we won possession we gave it away soon after due to small errors of handling or decision making.
Fordingbridge now had a lineout on half way and again some poor tackling allowed them to make their way towards our try line. Two good tackles from Jayden and Charlie stopped them scoring but they were held up so had a 5m scrum. From the scrum Fordingbridge were awarded a penalty, which was taken quickly, and a simple crash ball gave them their second try. Missed conversion meant the score was 12-7 to the home team.
Charlie’s kick off went deep and when Fordingbridge eventually picked the ball up Jayden made the first tackle and Dom followed up by picking up and driving to the line. Unfortunately he was held up and it was a 5m scrum to Heathens. From this position I would have backed us to score but again a wrong decision led to a turnover and Fordingbridge were let off the hook.
We didn’t have to wait too long until we were back on the scoreboard. Despite being pushed back in the scrum, Zack did well to dig the ball out and pass to Jake, who passed it on to Connor. Connor showed some great speed, couple with balance to make it through their defence and score under the posts. A successful conversion from Charlie meant Heathens were back in front, 14-12.
Our jubilation at getting back in front was short lived. Fordingbridge did the basics well and from a lineout they formed a maul, made a few metres up-field before passing it to their fly half. Poor defence again allowed him to break through and score near the posts. Missed conversion so we were now trailing 17-14.
The team seemed to pull themselves together at the half time break but it was Fordingbridge who scored first. Again, a maul from the lineout in our 22 was used and their tactic of peeling off and forming a second maul was confusing our defence. This resulted in an easy try out wide.Successful conversion so the score was 24-14.
This time the heads didn’t go down and Heathen’s put pressure on to win a scrum on half way due to a knock on. The scrum was solid and the pass went to Jake who saw some space and made a lovely run up field where a desperate tap tackle denied him going further. Charlie was the first there and picked up, making a few metres himself before being tackled. A nice offload found Dom, who scored to the right of the posts. Successful conversion from James made the score 24-21 and Heathens were right back in it.
Despite applying lots of pressure in the opposition 22 for the next 5-10 mins, Heathens just couldn’t make the pressure count. Silly errors just handed back possession when patience would have led to us scoring more points. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves on the back foot in our 22 but a superb tackle from Dom gave us possession and after two penalties in a row we found ourselves deep in their territory. This time we were held up in a maul and from the scrum Fordingbridge just passed it through their hands and ran down the left hand side. Disappointingly they were able to make it over the try line and then run it towards the posts to secure an easy conversion. The score was now 31-21 and despite some spirited effort this remained the score at the final whistle.
Players, coaches and family were all disappointed. Mainly because this was a match we could have and should have won. For some reason the backline didn’t fire and our decision making was poor. We must be quicker when awarded penalties and our depth in attack was almost non-existent. The positives were there too and the forwards can pat themselves on the back for having a good game collectively and winning so many turnovers.
Will was awarded Man of the Match by Fordingbridge and Dom was nominated by Jack. There was another positive at the end too, we won in the bar!
Well done to Tristan and Daniel for their efforts. They handled themselves well and the future looks bright. Next week is a friendly at home against US Portsmouth. Let’s hope that we can notch our first win of the season!