Match Report
Bradford Salem (31) vs Heath RUFC (27)
Saturday 22 December 2007
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Pipped at the Post.

Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd xv. The Seconds made the short journey to take on Bradford Salem on a dull, cold afternoon. Their cause was not helped by the withdrawal of five of the selected back line but this allowed 17 yrs old (just!!) Tom OWEN, the younger brother of Rob, to make his senior debut in a Heath shirt at outside half. Heath played up the slight slope with the wind against them in the first half and started confidently, Joe SHIPMAN winning the first two Salem line outs. Heath got into the home '22' and from a Salem scrum, the ball went loose and was picked up by scrum half, Gareth OWEN, who linked with his back row and then took a pass 3 metres from the line to score a good try some 10 metres in from touch. The difficult conversion was missed by Oliver COOK. 5- 0 after 5 minutes. Salem then came back into the game within 5 minutes when a chip through was picked up by full back, Rob OWEN. He was caught in possession and the ball was turned over. The ball was passed through a couple of Salem players before a missed tackle allowed Salem to score a converted try some 20 metres to the side of the posts. 5 - 7 after 10 minutes. The lead was short lived though as Tom OWEN made a break before the ball was taken forward well by the pack. Heath managed to get within 10 metres of the Salem line but then lost the ball in contact. Fortunately, centre David CRAIGIE was able to charge down the attempted clearance kick and the ball was scrambled to touch for an attacking 5 metre line out. Joe SHIPMAN took clean ball at the front of the lineout and immediately gave the ball to the peeling Dean COTTON who ran through the Salem right winger before putting the ball over the line for a well executed try. Again the conversion was narrowly missed by Oliver COOK. 10 - 7 after 13 minutes. From the kick off, the pack took the ball some 40 metres upfield with excellent interpassing and Heath were able to establish a foothold in the Salem ' 22' once more. From an attacking line out some 20 metres out, the ball was quickly transferred from Gareth OWEN to Tom OWEN and then David CRAIGIE crashed his way to within 5 metres of the line before popping up an excellent pass for the supporting James BLACKMORE to score a try under the posts. Oliver COOK made no mistake with the conversion. 17 - 7 after 17 minutes and Heath well and truly on top. Unfortunately, Heath then rested on their laurels and allowed Salem back into the game. The Salem pack was given the opportunity to make good ground and took advantage of a lack of urgency by Heath to double their score after 25 minutes. They were awarded a penalty some 5 metres from the Heath line and although the initial forward surge was kept out, the ball was passed out to the centre who ran back towards his pack and although held short of the line, his pack was able to force the ball over the line for an unconverted try. 12 - 17. One hoped that this was a wake up call for the Heath boys. But, again, they allowed the Salem pack to dictate play and pressure was put on the Heath line for a couple of minutes before the centre took the ball some 15 metres out and ran back towards the pack and weak tackling allowed him to score a try some 10 metres in from the touchline. The conversion was well taken. 17 - 19 after 32 minutes. Heath were now hanging on at this stage. They went further behind on the stroke of half time when the Salem centre made a good break and, although he was stopped some 30 metres from the Heath line, Salem got quick ball and wing forward, Mark MATTOCK, was correctly penalised for offside having interfered with play on the retreat. The Salem full back made no mistake. 17 - 22 at half time. Within 2 minutes of the restart, Heath had cut the gap to 2 points when Salem were penalised some 40 metres out in front of the posts and Oliver COOK kicked the penalty. 20 - 22 after 42 minutes. Heath failed to keep up this initial momentum and allowed Salem's pack to take the ball deep into the Heath half where the back line was penalised for offside and the full back made no mistake with the straight forward kick. 20 - 25 after 45 minutes. James BLACKMORE then had to leave the field with a hand injury being replaced by Tom WARD who slotted into the second row allowing Dean COTTON to move back to number 8. After Oliver COOK narrowly missed a penalty from a similar position to his previous successful kick, Heath kept Salem pinned in their own '22' for several minutes. The pressure told when, after a number of good forward drives, hooker Rick PAINTER was able to ground the ball over the line. However, the referee, who was on the other side of the maul, awarded a 5m attacking scrum believing that the ball had been held up. Heath continued to apply pressure on the home line retaining possession of the ball for long periods. Salem were giving away penalty after penalty under the pressure and Heath were rewarded when the ball was driven in once more and quick ball found Dean COTTON on the blind side with a 3 to 2 advantage. His pass found left wing, Martin BARNES, in space and he took the ball well before scoring a good try in the corner. The conversion was superbly kicked by Oliver COOK and Heath had the lead once more. 27-25 after 58 minutes. After 66 minutes, Martin BARNES was sent to the sin bin for a silly indiscretion and instead of a line out on halfway, Salem were awarded a penalty which they kicked into the Heath '22'. From the line out, Heath were penalised for offside and the penalty was kicked. 27-28 after 68 minutes. Salem added another penalty after 76 minutes to increase their lead to 27-31. Martin BARNES was then replaced by Ian CRAIGON for the last few minutes. The game ended with Heath stuck in their '22'. Defeat by 27-31. This was a disappointing result particularly after leading by 17-7 with the opposition looking well and truly beaten. However, the boys went to sleep and allowed Salem back into the game and they paid the price for taking the foot off the pedal, playing some na´ve rugby and taking wrong options when in possession. However, that said, this was the first game for 3 weeks and the run out can only stand Heath in good stead for next weeks home game against Old Rishworthians 1st xv when the side will be able to be picked from a good number of available players. Man of the match award was given to Joe SHIPMAN who had a very good game in both loose and the line outs.



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