It was a first win for Haileybury against Felsted since 2011. This was an excellent victory away from home against a strong Felsted side.
In a tense, physical encounter Haileybury produced a tremendous defensive display that rattled their accomplished opponents. The away team started brightly but didn’t manage to get the points their early dominance deserved.
They possibly should have looked to put points on the board rather than going for the jugular but the positive approach from the players was to be admired and ultimately led to the eventual victory. Felsted managed to get a 3-0 lead from their first spell of pressure.
Harry Collins and Josh Stibbs were immense in defence playing with passion and intensity from the off and inspiring their side with big hits and counter rucks. This defensive intensity led to a penalty opportunity for Sam Cappaert and he put over a superb kick from fully 40m. Haileybury were positive in their attacking intentions but their execution let them down and after a ferocious opening half the score was 3-3.
Haileybury continued to stutter in attack and Felsted ran a precise backs play to score under the posts and convert to lead 10-3. Haileybury were now facing a serious test of character and with their line-out creaking were struggling to get a foothold in the opposition half.
However, this side is full of character and cometh the hour, cometh the man and vice captain KP went on several trademark charges into the heart of the home defence creating space for the outside backs leading to Ollie Heazel hitting a great line and charging over to bring Haileybury right back into the game, Sam Cappaert knocking over the crucial conversion to make the scores level with 15 minutes to go.
Haileybury kept going and took several quick taps and played some superb attacking rugby and the irrepressible Josh Stibbs took a quick tap and crossed for what proved to be the winning try. We were set for a tense final five or so minutes.
In the remaining time Haileybury maintained their momentum and put together some superb play epitomised by a superb chase by prop Sam Hurding putting down the Felsted full back and backed up by his marauding forward pack keeping the pressure on the home team. Haileybury’s defence was immense again in the final few minutes and Felsted never looked like scoring.
This was a superb victory built on a few touches of class and determination, physicality and intensity. The Haileybury boys were superb to a man and fully deserved their victory. Men of the match were Josh Stibbs and Harry Collins who epitomised the desire shown by the entire team.
Full Time: Felsted 10-15 Haileybury
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