Match Report
North Ribblesdale RUFC (8) vs Heath RUFC (31)
Saturday 14 April 2007
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Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd XV started the home game against North Ribblesdale knowing that victory would secure the Yorkshire Division 2 Merit Table title. The game took place in superb conditions; it was warm, the sun was shining and the ground was hard but ideal for running rugby. Heath kicked off and the ball was collected by “Ribb” and, after a short passage of play, it was kicked downfield by the young outside half. Although captain and full back Emlyn JAMES retrieved it, his kick for touch was sliced infield and taken on by “Ribb” who made good ground to take the ball back into the Heath half. From the ensuing ruck, second row, Nigel ROYSTON, was able to hack the ball downfield. It was regathered by a retreating “Ribb” back and although blind side wing forward, Michael STEADs’ attempted tackle failed to halt the player, Nigel ROYSTON certainly managed to do so-----unfortunately it was as a result of a high tackle for which he was penalised. Play was centred around the middle of the park for a little while but when Heath were further penalised, the opposition outside missed his penalty attempt pulling the ball to the left of the posts. From the “22”, “Ribb” came straight back at Heath and a wayward pass from scrum half, Matthew HALLETT, who had suffered an injury to his arm early on, forced an attacking 5 metre scrum. The “Ribb” pack drove the Heath boys backwards over their own line and only an illegal intervention by number 8, Neil SMURTHWAITE, prevented a probable pushover try. The penalty was given and “Ribb” opted for a second scrum. This time, the Heath pack got their body positions correct and held the shove, although the ball was picked up by the number 8 , he was tackled and then penalised for holding on in the tackle allowing outside half, Mick GLEESON, to take play back up towards the halfway line. “Ribb” continued to dictate play and when the ball carrier was tackled, openside wing forward, Daniel RAMSDEN, was harshly penalised for handling in the ruck.The outside half kicked the penalty to open the scoring. 0-3 after 10 minutes. Heath kicked off and stole the ball at the breakdown. Michael STEAD made the initial surge. He was well supported by the pack who kept the forward momentum going resulting in Nigel ROYSTON scoring a try at the side of the posts. Mick GLEESON converted. 7-3 after 12 minutes. This was the first real opportunity that the home side had and made it pay. From the kick off, Heath moved forward once more and it culminated in hooker Rick PAINTER taking the ball down the blindside on an excellent 30 metres run. Once tackled, it was subsequently lost in contact and the pressure was relieved. Matters were now looking better for the home side but through poor passing and handling and misdirected kicks, Heath were unable to increase their lead and the game was not pretty to the eye. After 37 minutes, “Ribb” were awarded a penalty just outside the Heath “22” and a quick tap saw the ball transferred down the back line to the outside centre who used his strength to beat off the attempted tackle of left wing, Gavin WIGGINS, to score an unconverted try near the touchline. 7-8. Heath now desperately needed to score a try before the interval and from a Heath scrum just inside the “Ribb” half, Neil SMURTHWAITE picked up and drove the ball downfield with purpose. Michael STEAD was up in support and the move was continued. Quick ball from the resultant ruck was passed down the line to Gavin WIGGINS to outpace the defence to score an excellent team try near to the corner flag. Sadly, the “Ribb” tight head prop decided to use Gavins’ back to kneel upon and he was sent for a 10 minute break by the referee. The difficult conversion was missed and at half time the score was 12-8. Gavin WIGGINS was unable to continue as a result of the last play of the half and he left the field of play with injured scrum half, Matthew HALLETT. Centre Tom COLLINGE moved to his more accustomed position of scrum half, John DENWOOD replaced Tom in the centre and Steve PULLAN took up a position on the left wing. Heath knew that their play in the first half had been frenetic and poor and realised that the second half required solid, controlled rugby for a victory to be achieved. Uncontested scrums was the order of the day until the sin-binned prop returned. “Ribb” kicked off. The ball was secured and Mick GLEESON put in an excellent 40 metre touchfinder. “Ribb” took the lineout but a long kick for touch was missed and Emlyn JAMES ran the ball back with interest before offloading to Steve PULLAN who made further ground before being tackled. This was a good positive start to the half by Heath. From a misdirected kick downfield, the ball was run back by Tom COLLINGE. He passed to Michael STEAD and after being tackled the pack were there in numbers to gain quick ball. Tom COLLINGE fed Mick GLEESON who made a superb break of some 30 metres to score an unconverted try in the corner. 17-8 after 47 minutes. This was more like it!!! On the resumption of contested scrums, Tom WARD replaced Rick CARTER at prop. Heath were now definitely on top but needed to keep it going. Their tackling was excellent, typified by one tackle by centre, Martin SHAW, who dumped the “Ribb” left winger having made the mistake of running straight into him. The Heath boys were visibly growing in confidence and increased their lead after 57 minutes when, from a miscued Heath kick, the “Ribb” number 8 ran the ball back but was superbly tackled by Nigel ROYSTON. Young Daniel RAMSDEN and Michael STEAD were up in support and the ball was released and Daniel RAMSDEN kicked it along the ground displaying excellent soccer skills to dive just before the dead ball line for a good try. His efforts were further rewarded with an excellent conversion out wide from Mick GLEESON. 24-8. Second row Dave FREEMAN was replaced by Oliver COOK having completed a good 60 minutes of play. Shortly afterwards, Max PRASHARD replaced Nigel ROYSTON and Rick CARTER re-entered the fray replacing Roger HAMMOND. “Ribb” then enjoyed a period of pressure which resulted in the awarding of 3 penalties 5 metres from the Heath line. They ran the first one and good defence prevented a try but the referee awarded a second penalty. Again, good tackling kept them out but a further indiscretion resulted in a third penalty in quick succession. However, when the ball was moved down the line, Emlyn JAMES timed his defensive run to perfection to tackle the outside half who was subsequently penalised for “holding on”. Mick GLEESONs’ kick took play up to the halfway line and the danger had passed. From the subsequent line out, the ball was won and passed down the line to outside centre, John DENWOOD, who beat the cover with ease to score an excellent try near to the posts. Oliver COOK converted. 31-8 after 77 minutes. In the last few minutes, Heath continued to dictate matters and Max PRASHARD was to the fore securing possession and tackling well. From a long kick downfield, Emlyn JAMES ran the ball back with purpose and he had the opportunity to use his strength and bulk to “run over” the “Ribb” tight head prop who had “misbehaved” all afternoon but he slowed down at the last moment……….knackered, I believe!!! What a waste!! The referee played 3 minutes of injury time before blowing for “No side”. Heath 2nd XV are CHAMPIONS!!!!!!! After a poor first half performance, the Heath boys went back to basics in the second half and reaped the rewards such rugby brings. Man of the match awards went to Mick GLEESON in the backs who had a good game particularly in the second half, his decision-making being crucial to keeping the home side on top. In the forwards, the award went to young Daniel RAMSDEN who had a superb game in the loose securing possession on countless occasions and tackling tremendously throughout----definitely one for the future!! The 2nd xv are due to play their final game of the season next Saturday away at Huddersfield YMCA but, just in case the game does not take place, for whatever reason, I would just like to thank all 51 players who have represented the 2nds for making this both a successful and enjoyable season. There has been an excellent team spirit and superb commitment shown by all the boys throughout and they have got their just rewards. Congratulations fellas. Looking forward to next season already when there will be new challenges in the higher league but I am confident that we can continue in the same vein. Lastly, congratulations to Kevin, Brownie and the boys for gaining promotion to Yorkshire One for the first time in the clubs’ history and also, congratulations to my mate, Mark METCALFE who has done a terrific job with the 3rd xv this season.



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