Match Report
Heath RUFC (16) vs Old Rishworthians I RUFC (0)
Saturday 29 December 2007
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Good, solid, allround performance ends 2007.

Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd xv entertained Old Rishworthians 1st xv in the last game of 2007 on a cold, blustery, rainy afternoon at West Vale. 'Rish' won the toss and elected to play against the elements in the first half. Heath kicked off but 'Rish' controlled possession in the first few minutes. However, it was the home side who took the lead in the 6th minute. From an attacking line out, some 15 metres from the 'Rish' try line, the ball was taken well at the front by Joe SHIPMAN who immediately fed the peeling second row, Danny NOLAN, who made ground towards the try line. When stopped, the ball was quickly moved out to centre, Alan SCHOLEFIELD, who made good ground. However, at the resulting ruck, the ball was kicked through by 'Rish'. The ball was collected by a retreating Heath player and they were awarded a penalty some 25 metres out for a handling offence in the ruck. Oliver COOK made no mistake. 3-0. For the next 15 minutes, the visitors had good territorial advantage. That said, they never looked like scoring against a very good Heath defence. An example of this occurred in the 20th minute when 'Rish' had an attacking 5 metre line out. They won good ball and the ball was spun down the line where the outside centre was well and truly knocked back by David CRAIGIE. This resulted in turnover ball which was kicked deep into Rish' 22. Shortly afterwards, a deep kick found right wing, Ashley BAXENDALE, with time and space allowing him to show his paces. He beat several players on a 35 metre jinking run towards the oppositions' 22 but the pass went to ground. The Copley men continued to enjoy the upperhand, territory and possession wise, but there was no real scoring opportunities due to the Heath defence working extremely well. Shortly before half time, wing forward, Mark MATTOCK, left the field with an ankle injury to be replaced 18 years old Martin PARKER who was making his senior debut for Heath. As the skies got darker, the floodlights were illuminated and the referee's whistle brought to an end a very tight first half. Heath rung the changes at half time with props Roger HAMMOND and Tom WARD replacing Rick CARTER and Andy PIPER and Gavin WIGGINS entered the fray on the right wing allowing Ashley BAXENDALE to play full back replacing Paul FARRAR. Heath could expect to be put under pressure with 'Rish' now enjoying the use of the elements and a solid defence would be required. This is exactly what happened and the home side were under the cosh for the first 7-8 minutes. However, just as pressure was mounting and the visitors progressed to within 5 metres of the Heath line, they lost possession and Heath were awarded a 5 metre scrum. Although the ball was won, scrum half Richard COLE's clearance kick was charged down but luckily went dead resulting in a Heath 22 drop out. From this, play was put deep into 'Rish' territory and Heath then started to gain the upperhand with play now taking place totally in the 'Rish' half for the next 8 minutes. Heaths' pressure was rewarded with the awarding of a penalty some 35 metres out. The resulting attempt at goal by Oliver COOK was wide of the right hand post and the score remained 3-0. The second half was taking on the mirror look of the first half where he Copley men were playing against the elements but had most of the play. Now Heath were playing against said elements and were certainly on top. However, it must be said that the conditions did change midway through the second half with the wind now beginning to slightly favour Heath. As the home back line received more possession, their increasing confidence was seen on a number of occasions when the ball was passed down the line from scrum half all the way to the winger even though the conditions did not encourage such play. Martin BARNES replaced left wing, Rob OWEN, after 57 minutes and Heath continued to pressurise the opponents. In the 65th minute, second row, Oliver COOK, left the field to be replaced by Richard DANCE. In the 67th minute, Heath increased their lead. The ball was smartly passed down the line but right wing, Gavin WIGGINS, was forced into touch some 15 metres from the line. From the resulting line out, the ball was tapped back, but Danny NOLAN burst through, took possession of the ball and stormed over the try line for a welcome score. Richard COLE missed the difficult conversion but at least there was now a bit of a cushion for the Heath boys to play with. Heath continued to press and were visibly growing in confidence with both forwards and backs working well as a unit. However, 'Rish' got back into the home 22 but Richard COLE made a superb pressure-releasing run from just inside Heath's 22 to almost halfway and, although possession was subsequently lost, the ball was then knocked forward by 'Rish' and Heath received a penalty for dissent by one of the visotors. Heath maintained control of the game and the forwards were driving the ball in well with number 8, James WHEELWRIGHT and wing forward, Martin PARKER, to the fore. After 79 minutes, Heath were rewarded for their pressure with a second try. From a number of drives, the 'Rish' defence had been sucked-in and scrum half, Richard COLE passed blindside to left wing, Martyn BARNES, who caught the ball and scampered in at the corner for a well-deserved try. The conversion from Richard COLE was missed but at 13-0, the game appeared to be won. From the kick off, 'Rish' came back strongly at Heath and they were awarded a penalty some 15 metres out. They elected to go for goal and the penalty was successful. That was the last play of the game. Final score 13-3. This was a very well contested game of rugby played between two very evenly-matched sides. The conditions were poor but the Heath team did exactly what was required - - - excellent defence, particularly in the first half, and some very good driving rugby by the pack and the efficient use of the ball by the backs in the second half. All players who represented the club this afternoon can be proud of their performance. The effort and commitment from all of the boys was absolutely first class. This was a very good way in which to say goodbye to 2007 and Heath 2nd xv can now enter 2008 with confidence. As already stated, all players made excellent contributions to this victory. However, Man of the Match awards are given to scrum half Richard COLE and second row Oliver COOK. COLEY distributed well throughout the game and made several darting runs. His effort was typified in the second half when 'Rish' were attacking and put in a kick towards the Heath line, COLEY was covering and he was able to call for an excellent 'mark', with the ball coming over his shoulder, just short of the Heath try line. He then cleared to touch with an excellent 30 metre kick. The second recipient of the award, Oliver COOK, had an outstanding game in an outstanding pack. He used his large frame in both tight and loose. His performance was typified with a superb tackle on ex professional rugby player, Jamie BLOEM, in the second half which stopped the South African dead in his tracks. I would like to thank all players who have represented Heath 2nd xv thus far for their efforts during a season which has certainly had its ups and downs. Lastly, I would just like to wish everyone connected with Heath RUFC a very happy and successful new year.



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