Match Report
Heath RUFC (34) vs Ilkley RUFC (7)
Saturday 11 March 2023
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Reporter: Thomas Stanley Walton
Dated: 11 March 2023

15 Sam Fletcher 14 Elliott Spiers 13 Jordan Bradbrook 12 Chris Johnson 11 Callum Harriott-Brown 10 Dan Cole 9 Dom Walsh 1 Paul Turner 2 Alex McFadden 3 Chris Moore 4 Saif Boussaada 5 Fergus Marsden 6 Harvey Keighley-Payne 7 Elliott Knight 8 Ben Stringer 16 Jason Merrie  17 Joe Morrison  18 Olly Cook

Saif Boussaada 1 try  Elliiott Spiers 1 try  Alex McFadden 1 try  Fergus Marsden 1 try  Dom Walsh 1 try
Chris Johnson 3 cons 1 penalty

Ilkley were the visitors to North Dean for yet another important game for Heath. Sam Fletcher returned at full back and Harvey Keighley-Payne and Elliott Knight started with Jason Merrie on the bench alongside Joe Morrison and Olly Cook.

There was a large crowd gathered for a game which many thought would have fallen victim to the weather, with the pitch covered in snow, but thanks to a herculean effort from over thirty volunteers who rallied to the cause and arrived with shovels, wheelbarrows, brushes and a small snowplough this was cleared during the morning and passed fit for play by referee Sam Potts.

The visitors kicked off, with Heath playing towards the Stainland Road end, and after collecting the ball Heath went on the attack. The first scrum was dominated by the home side and the referee had no option but to award a penalty. Up stepped Chris Johnson to slot the ball between the posts and Heath led 3-0 with two minutes played. Ilkley replied with a break through the middle of the field  but Sam Fletcher was on hand to snuff out the threat and, when Callum Harriott-Brown broke free, it was Ilkley who had to defend. Pressure was heaped onto the visitors defence and when Fergus Marsden gathered the ball from a line-out the surge to the try-line resulted in Saif Boussaada emerging with it for try, converted by Johnson and a score of 10-0 was fully justified.

Two minutes  later, Ilkley pounced as several Heath players failed  to take charge of a bouncing ball and scored a converted try 10-7 with only ten minutes played. It had been a frantic start to the game but there  was now a period of  even play with the Heath forwards dominating scrums but the visitors backs looking dangerous with ball in hand. With thirty minutes played it was Heath who broke the deadlock. From a penalty kick, Chris Johnson found touch in the corner. Once again Marsden collected and the home side drove to the line. Ilkley were determined not to allow them through, so the ball was spun out wide by Dom Walsh to Elliott Spiers and the wingman crossed for a flying try, again converted by Johnson, 17-7.

Time for  change so Olly Cook and Jason Merrie replaced Elliott Knight and Chris Moore and both were quickly in the thick of things as Heath were gradually getting a grip of the game. From yet another line-out, Ben Stringer collected and the drive saw Alex McFadden score a try for Heath to lead 22-7 as half time arrived.

Joe Morrison replaced Jordan Bradbrook at the start of the second half and, when Ilkley were guilty of not securing the ball from the kick off, the resulting scrum Heath took control. Huge yardage was made by Olly Cook, Paul Turner and Joe Morrison before Fergus Marsden scooped the ball up to go over for the bonus point fourth try, converted by Chris Johnson and it was the perfect start to the half 29-7 with only four minutes played.

Ilkley were struggling to contain the onslaught, but deserve credit for a resilient defence. On the hour mark, Chris Moore returned for Harvey Keighley-Payne as the home side continued to go in search off adding to their score, but they  had to wait until the final minutes to breech the visitors defence when, following a flowing move from one side of the pitch to the other, Dom Walsh was on hand to finish with a try and a final score of 34-7 was just reward.

Ilkley arrived at North Dean in good form and many had predicted an upset, but Heath had other ideas and took control of the game to outplay the visitors. The effort put in during the morning to get the game on was fully justified and sights are now set on next week's home game against Champions, Billingham. Two points from this final game secures second spot.  Many will be looking for Heath to turn the tables on the Champions after going close back in October. A full house will no doubt be in attendance so once again miss it if you dare!!!  


League Results:  Here.

League Table:  Here.

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Jason Merrie
Joe Morrison to Sam Fletcher
Fergus Marsden
Callum H-Brown
Chris Moore & Sam Fletcher
Chris Johnson
Sam Fletcher
Jason Merrie
Saif Boussaada.
Dan Cole
Ben Stringer
Jordan Bradbrook.
Elliott Spiers
Elliott Spiers, try.
Harvey Keighley-Payne & Joe Morrison
Alex McFadden, just scored
Saif Boussaada, try
Dom's try
Dom to Elliott



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