8 FEBRUARY 2014
Charlton Park continued their push for promotion with a nine try win over struggling bottom of the League Heathfield and Waldron and in doing so extended their lead to sixteen although they have played two games more.
The match taking place, where all the other clubs in the league faced a postponement, was a tribute to Charlton’s hard working “Chief Ground Technician” Colin “Bertie” Wooster and his group of helpers who spread seven tons of sand on Friday to assist with stabilising the pitch which, although wet in places, provided a playing surface that encouraged both sides who tried to play to their true potential.
Through out the season Charlton’s forwards had provided a sold base for Charlton’s attacking play and this game was prove no different as Heathfield struggled to contain Charlton’s forwards in tight and loose play with Terry Read and Mark Harlow-Singh having telling driving runs deep into the visitors’ half.
It was following a line out, that Charlton opened the scoring when following the ball being won by Alex Smith the ball was moved swiftly to the back of a rolling maul that lead to Charlton driving over the Heathfield goal line and Sam Baker emerged from a pile of bodies as the scorer of the try. To compound Heathfield’s woes from the ensuing restart Number Eight Rob Saunderson caught the ball and his pass set into motion a eighty metre run that saw direct running and tackles being broken by Luke Boyns and Read and the final pass was taken by Neil Collins, tracking the move well and he scored the try to finish off the flowing try scoring move.
By Roe Belcher
Heathfield & Waldron’s View of the match:
League leaders Charlton Park had a straightforward nine try win over bottom placed Heathfield.
The fact that the game took place at all in the current circumstances is a tribute to the effort and determination of the home club ground staff and members who reaped due reward in front of a decent crowd. Both sides tried to play good rugby in spite of the conditions, helped by the threatened heavy showers not appearing.
The home pack is a very sizeable unit and Heathfield struggled to contain the powerful running by their number 5 and three in particular. The second row made several useful runs collecting one try for himself and creating another. The first Park try came after ten minutes from a routine catch and drive from a lineout (7-0) and this was soon followed by another from broken play (12-0).
Heathfield was having some periods of pressure and one lineout catch and drive neat the home try line was looking promising but the ball had not been protected enough and the chance was lost.
On another foray into the home half Charlie Smith nearly claimed a try under the posts from a loose ball and a home centre was binned for malpractice at the breakdown in that incident. However apart from the resulting penalty Heathfield were unable to capitalise on the extra man (12-3).
The home pack was starting to exert pressure in the tight and after half an hour a penalty try was awarded from a scrummage near the Heathfield line (19-3).
The home tight head prop was up against Richard Cooley in the scrum and these two have had many excellent battles over the years with neither normally claiming complete victory although Cooley is several stone lighter. However on this occasion the home pack had a clear edge and the referee took a dislike to Cooley’s scrummaging technique and he was duly yellow carded just before half time. Julian Porter came on to replace him for the next scrum and in the circumstances did well, also being noted making some useful carries in the loose.
In the last few minutes of the half Park exploited the extra man to collect two more tries (29-3).
Seb Jones had to be replaced for injury after an unfortunate scuffle with an opposing flanker. This meant that Chris Ambrosino made another rare appearance at this level and battled well.
Kobe Tonkin, Ollie Robertshaw and David Yates were noted striving mightily against the odds. Yates probably stayed on too long although clearly carrying an injury but he was aware of the lack of a suitable replacement on the bench.
Heathfield did manage to secure some possession, often from the lineout where Yates and Bruce Pestell were effective. However the strength of the home side wore them down and tries came regularly throughout the second half.