Crawley enjoyed a good start to the season with victory over newly promoted Haywards Heath in what was a new dawn for the club under head coach Mick Orton.
Straight from the start the two teams got stuck into each other playing at a high tempo with both sharing spells of possession.
It had been a great game. Heath supporters could argue that they deserved to win but on reflection it was Crawley who played with the better structure, passion and heart.”Crawley RFC reporter Mike Gosling
The outstanding Cian Morgan-Smith stormed the 60 metres to score in the corner.
Andy Evans then stepped up and nailed the touchline conversion.
It was a brilliant score and this kick pushed Crawley up a gear.
Morgan-Smith walked over for his second well deserved try in a man of the match display.
Evans got the conversion for the second time in the match and the two teams played out the first half with Crawley 14–0 up.
A team with the quality of Heath, who have retained several of the players they had in the higher ehelons of the London Leagues, was never going to lie down and sure enough they started the second half on fire.
Eventually Heath got the score they were looking for. The conversion was missed and with 30 minutes to go Crawley now led by nine points.
With 20 minutes remaining, another turnover won by Crawley saw the ball kicked over Heath’s attack.
As Heath chased back, the ball crossed the try line.
The Heath full back seemed to take an eternity to touch the ball down and this allowed Gosling to dive in and seemingly score. The referee himself had been caught out and was way back on the 22 metre line.
He could not give the try and this knocked the wind from Crawley that allowed Heath back into the game. Yet more courageous defence by Crawley repelled wave after wave of Heath attacks.
Sure enough the pressure had to tell as Heath went over for their second well deserved try giving Crawley a four-point lead with just less than 10 minutes to go.
This again provoked Crawley into life and they started to play the more composed Rugby.
By now Heath seemed to have run out of ideas and the game and ended with Crawley in the ascendance earning themselves a fine win.
It had been a great game. Heath supporters could argue that they deserved to win but on reflection it was Crawley who played with the better structure, passion and heart.
Without a shadow of doubt, both teams will get better in the coming weeks and months and when they meet again at the end of the season it could be brilliant game. For now though Crawley were the winners and it is a great start to the season.
Crawley Team, Theobold, Mansfield, Weeden, Gilliat, Barnes, Gosling, Morgan-Smith, Hall, Wilsons, Toogood, Cunningham, Hewitt, Callus, Wilson, Evans. Subs Wilson, Baldock, Quigley
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