Tough first outing of the year
Disapponting first half performace leaves Heathens with too much to do in the second half
After a long break due to the weather and Christmas we had our first game of 2019 against Basingstoke. A healthy squad, well for us anyway, of 16 meant we started the game with a sub and it was Lloyd who was on the side-line at the start.
The first five minutes were a bit cagey from both teams with no side showing dominance. Our scrum was solid but lack of support at the ruck allowed Basingstoke to turn over our ball before we could make any real progress. Jayden’s tackling was a highlight and was keeping us in the game.
The first try of the match came from a clearing kick that was picked up by the Basingstoke fullback, who caught the ball well and managed to pick a good line and run around our narrow defence to score out wide on the left. The conversion was missed so the score was 0-5.
There was a knock on at the restart and we found ourselves with a scrum just outside their 22 but again we were turned over at a ruck. We then had to defend and it looked like one of their centres were through but a good tackle by Jayden stopped that attack and we were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch. We were awarded another penalty shortly afterwards and the decision was made to kick for goal. Unfortunately it fell just short and the score remained the same.
Shortly afterwards Heathens had another penalty and Jake tapped and ran. This was a good option but again our support wasn’t quick enough and the ball was turned over. Some poor tackling in midfield allowed Basingstoke to run through the middle and score their second try. The conversion was missed again so score was 0-10.
Heathens showed some good defence from the kick off by pushing their winger into touch. Basingstoke moved the ball midfield from the lineout and after a couple of phases Lloyd, who had been brought on after the second try, pushed their player out of a ruck and caused a knock on. Scrum to Heathens.
The ball was given to the backs and then Will made some good yards to the right before being tackled and unfortunately we knocked on at the next phase. These little mistakes were costing us dearly as we seemed to be giving the ball away before we could put 2 or 3 phases together.
From this turnover, Basingstoke made some good ground up-field before we gave away a penalty for hands in the ruck just inside our 22. It was taken quickly and Basingstoke ran through our defence and scored. Successful conversion this time so the score was now an alarming 0-17. Despite some good pressure from the kick off and spending some time in their 22, we couldn’t get on the scoreboard and the half time whistle went.
The second half saw a much improved Heathens performance. Despite this we did concede a try early on. The Basingstoke number 13 made a strong run through the midfield and scored. The conversion was missed and the score was now 0-22.
Almost immediately afterwards Basingstoke scored again and made the conversion. With the score at 0-29 another converted try would mean the end of the match. This seemed to wake something up in the lads that we hadn’t seen all game and it wasn’t long before we got on the scoreboard. Some good phases allowed us to move up-field and we were awarded a penalty on their 22. Jack was crying out for a quick tap and go but it seemed to take an age before they tapped and gave the ball to Dom, who was allowed to pick up speed and there was no stopping him from that distance. James kicked the conversion so the score was now 7-29.
It wasn’t long before Basingstoke were applying the pressure again and we found ourselves on our own try line having to defend hard. There were multiple phases where Basingstoke picked up from the ruck and tried to drive over from about a metre. Each time they were repelled and eventually they moved the ball out wide and a forward pass led to a Heathen’s scrum on our 5m line. This was well deserved for a great defensive effort.
The ball was cleared and Basingstoke ran it straight back at us. This time it was our turn to bully them in a ruck and Lloyd again secured our possession. Will took the ball up-field and Basingstoke could only stop him with a high tackle. Jake kicked the ball into touch and gained some great distance so we now had a lineout just outside their 22.
The lineout was good and the ball was taken into the centre of the field. Dom received the pass from the ruck and after a nifty side step he changed direction and scored out on the left. The conversion was missed so the score was 12-29.
Heathen’s were definitely the stronger side now but time was not in our favour and the final whistle blew with no further points scored. It was a disappointing result and ultimately a disappointing performance, with our lack of support costing us dearly in the first half.
There were some positives to take onto the next game. The scrum was excellent throughout and maybe this dominance would have been seen in the mauls if we had used them more, especially from the lineout. Josh made his trademark runs from No8 and made some good ground and the Lloyd/Will partnership created a few turnovers. We did make them look better than they are and we will have to improve significantly to come back from the IoW with a win.
Dom was chosen by Basingstoke as MotM and Jayden was given the accolade from the coaches for his ferocious tackling and good runs in the centre. Unfortunately Oscar suffered concussion right at the end and he will be out for three weeks. We all wish him a speedy recovery!
Early start for the IoW on Sunday. Car share details will follow from Heloise. Have fun back at school!