League leaders Heath 1st XV were in confident mood as they headed to Old Colfeians in South London for the fifth game of the season with a slightly changed team from that which had beaten Deal so comprehensively two weeks earlier. Whilst all rugby at Whitemans Green was called off due to waterlogged pitches, meaning the RAMS game against Plumpton was postponed, the game at Colfes was given the go-ahead despite the significant recent rain.
Whether it was the weather conditions, the two week break between games, disrupted training due to the weather or a touch of complacency after scoring 50 points in their previous match and being top of the league, Heath had a poor first half from which they would never recover, despite a huge effort in the second half which made the opposition extremely nervous and the away supporters forever hopeful.
An early scrum against the head saw Old Colfeians go 7 -0 up, followed by a try scored down the right wing to make the score 12-0 to the home side. Heath tried to get a grip of the game but the big Colfes’ forwards were revelling in the conditions and on 20 minutes the home side was 19 -0 up after their number 8 crashed over. A Heath infringement allowed the home side to twist the screw further with a penalty taking the score out to 22-0 and the game seemed as good as over when the Colfes full back ran in a try from distance for 27 -0.
A yellow card for Colfes gave Heath an opening which was taken by abrasive flanker Josh Salisbury with a try that was converted by Jack Lucas to get Heath on the scoreboard for 27-7. Half time gave Heath time to regroup and display a determination to fight back – however this spirit suffered an immediate set back as Colfes scored a well worked try from a lineout taking the score to a seemingly irretrievable 34-7.
However these were the last points Colfes scored in a game of two halves as, for the rest of the match, the Heath team laid siege to the opposition 22 and were rewarded by a try for Hugo McPherson for 34-12.
The Old Colfeians coaches and supporters were beginning to get anxious as Heath started to dominate proceedings and when Lucas scythed in under the posts and converted to pull the score back to 34-19 the pressure was starting to mount. Heath had found their mojo of previous weeks and stuck to their structured game plan. Further reward came with 10 minutes to go as Dougie Kern scored to claim the four try bonus point with a try that Lucas converted for 34 -26.
Whilst Heath continued to apply the pressure to try and find a losing bonus point, or even an unlikely win, the effort required to pull themselves back into the game was beginning to show and they were unable to overhaul the 27 point headstart they had given the opposition.
All in all a useful wake-up call for Heath at this stage of the season with an encouraging second half display and leaving Old Colfeians with a bonus point is probably not a bad thing as there is plenty of the season remaining to put things right. Given the competitive nature of the London SE2 division with a lot of the teams beating each other, the other results on Saturday meant Heath remain at the top of the table and will be looking to train hard prior to the visit of Charlton Park to Whitemans Green next Saturday .
Heath 1st XV Squad : Charles Newey; Max Drage; Martin McDonagh; Patrick McPherson; Gareth Fergusson; Steve Doku; Josh Salisbury; Sam Drage (capt); Jim Taylor; Jack Lucas; James Flicker; Owain McLoughlin; Matt Smith; Jamie Diggle; Will Reeves-Perrin; Dougie Kern; Hugo McPherson; Sam Beckett