The two clubs who brought Kyle Sinckler (Battersea Ironsides) and Joe Marler (Haywards Heath) to international stardom met on Sunday.
Last years fixture was a close fought tussle with Ironsides taking victory at the death by one try.
Heath were out for revenge though the travelling support’s loyalty was sorely tested at half time when the Ironsides squad delivered pizza to the watching parents who were being warmed by the autumn sun as well as the Ironsides hospitality.
Oblivious to the impending feast on the sidelines, Heath took the game to Ironsides from the start and recorded the first score on the five minute mark. On a day the weather and pitch had decided was perfect for fast handling, Heath moved the ball from one wing to the other enabling S. Pearson to show his pace from the halfway line leaving the opposition in his wake. Having crossed the line in the right hand corner he rounded the full back to ground the ball under the posts.
Not to be outdone by his fellow winger, shortly after the restart, J. Bird delivered a text book demonstration of timing and pace to run in an almost identical try on the left wing, again finishing under the posts. Making amends for his earlier missed conversion, E. Hartley slotted the ball between the posts.
With Ironsides demonstrating well honed rucking skills, the penalty count started to mount against Heath though Ironsides were unable to take advantage of these penalties with the Heath forwards continuing to deliver tackle after tackle refusing to give ground. The defensive pressure eventually resulted in Heath turning over the ball and showing their own rucking and recycling skills culminating in G.Sutton bursting through the Ironside defence to ground the ball.
This unconverted try gave Heath a 17 point advantage over the hosts and galvanised Ironsides into action.
Two well worked periods of play by the home side saw them run in two unanswered tries and with one of these converted, the first half ended 12-17, Ironsides having played with heart to come from behind and find themselves only five points adrift.
The second half saw Heath with the slight advantage of the slope, but this didn't stop Ironsides scoring their third unanswered try shortly after the game had restarted. The conversion now putting Ironsides in the driving seat at 19-17.
Heath responded immediately by putting pressure through the forwards in a concerted drive down the middle of the pitch enabling E. Hartley at scrum half to distribute a fast ball to the backs. The Heath backs now started to show their higher fitness level, supporting each other through various lines of attack. Despite their best efforts it fell to Heaths No. 8, J. Davies, to score the next try and put Heath back ahead. Davies having taking over the kicking duties from Hartley converted his own try to put Heath back in charge at 19-24.
Both squads were now putting everything on the line in attack and defence and Ironsides testing C. Charles-Manley, playing his first game at full back, with some very accurate positional kicking knowing that a try would bring them level.
Ironsides commitment to score the try gave the Heath forwards ample opportunity to show their defensive strength, finally ripping the ball from hand and giving C. Charles Manley a well timed pop pass to force his way through several defenders and bring relief to Heath with a further try. Putting Heath 19-29 ahead gave Davies a final relaxed conversion and brought the scoring to an end at 19-31.