By Andrew Hatch
Titanic effort just falls short.
In a bruising encounter Vectis just fell short against Haywards Heath,one of the best sides in the South who have only lost one game in four seasons.
From the first minute Vectis played a brand of physical heads up rugby that hadn't been seen from them before. Every tackle was decisive and every breakdown was heavily contested, whilst the carrying and passing was of a very high standard. On the back of an dominant performance by the pack Rory Taylor at 10 had the time and space to continually turn Haywards Heath with a fine display of tactical kicking that ensured that for the first 30 minutes they struggled to get out of their own half. The backs were a constant threat with Tom Branagh, Jesse Butchers, Nathan Sanchez and Finn Mahoney showing defensive strength and enough in attack to worry their opposite numbers.
Vectis turned pressure into points with a solo effort by Rory Taylor and a strong run by Tom Branagh that took him under the Haywards Heath posts for a converted score that put Vectis into a 12 nil lead. Haywards Heath came back after that score and despite Will Hatch and Sam Thomas holding them up with big tackles on the line Haywards Heath broke through and scored under the posts.
In the final 20 minutes the huge effort put in by the Vectis forwards showed and Haywards Heath began to dominate possession and territory and scored two converted tries to show why they are consistent winners. Vectis were unable to add to their score and eventually just lost out in a fierce encounter.
Every player on the pitch contributed to the effort and all can be very proud of their effort, particularly their attitude and commitment. The Haywards Heath coaches were full of praise for Vectis and said this was their hardest match this season.
The starting front row of Thor Lawel-Reiley, George Nicholls and Ryan Fu were outstanding, ably supported by Sam Fox, Johnny Graham, Sam Caddick Sam Thomas and Ollie Fry. The pack was well supported by Emile Bleriot at scrum half who posed a threat with his runs and was an effective link to the backs.
The replacements that came on, Ollie Keywood, Kieran Lewis, Caleb Reynolds and Toby Puckett all made significant contributions after they came on and made sure that Haywards Heath had to be at their best to secure the win.