Match Report
Skipton (19) vs Heath RUFC (7)
Saturday 26 January 2008
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Conditions and Skipton pack dictate the game.

Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd xv travelled to Skipton for a friendly fixture. The game was played on a very heavy pitch containing a number of small areas of standing water with a bitterly cold gale blowing straight across the pitch. Conditions not particularly condusive to running rugby. This was always going to be a hard game with the Skipton pack containing some big lads and the Heath pack unfortunately being short of lads of such stature. Heath kicked off and the home side showed their intent by playing intelligent 9 man rugby, keeping the play tight and driving upfield slowly but surely. However, Heath did not exactly help themselves by failing to make first-up tackles and not getting up and meeting the opposition, preferring to let the opposition run at them. This proved costly after 6 minutes when Skipton were awarded a 5 metre scrum. The ball was picked up at the base by the big number 8 but scrum half, Matthew HALLETT put him to ground. However, the ball was recycled and a Skipton forward was able to force his way over from 6-7 metres having been held by 2-3 Heath players some 5 metres out but still managing to score by the posts. The successful conversion made the score 0-7. The Skipton pack continued to dictate play and the Heath lads were still allowing them to run at them, making it very difficult for themselves. After 17 minutes, Skipton were awarded a penalty under the posts some 20 metres out but the outside half pulled his effort to the left of the posts. A let off for Heath. The Heath lads then suddenly began to dig in and the pack was now meeting their opponents 'head on' with number 8 Karl RABY leading the way and the game was becoming more balanced. After 23 minutes, Heath had some excellent pressure on the home line. From a penalty some 10 metres out, Karl RABY took the ball forward with intent and was held just short. The ball was recycled and second row, Michael STEAD, was tackled just short of the line but his momentum appeared to take him over. However, an attacking 5 metres scrum then followed. The resulting scrum went beyond 90 degrees and Skipton had the put-in. Heath nicked it against the head and after a couple of phases, scrum half, HALLETT, dummied his way over for a try some 15 metres to the side of the posts. The conversion was well taken by Oliver COOK. 7-7 after 26 minutes. This was now a very even contest and all to play for. The ball was predominantly kept 'up front' as when the ball was attempted to be run down the back line by both teams, the conditions caused misplaced passes and handling errors. After 33 minutes, Heath had an attacking 5 metre scrum and the ball was picked up and driven in by Karl RABY but an accidental offside allowed Skipton to clear their lines. Michael STEAD then suffered an ankle injury but elected to remain on the field for the time being and the score remained level when the half time whistle was blown. Skipton got the second half underway, Karl RABY taking the ball, passing back to full back, Tom COLLINGE who found an excellent touch near halfway. Heath regained possession and ground was made with some excellent interpassing between the backs. This was a good start to the second half by Heath. Unfortunately, after 48 minutes, Michael STEAD was unable to continue and Heath were down to 14 men having no replacements on the bench. They would now have to dig in deep against a useful opposing pack. Skipton made the extra man count after 53 minutes when the pack drove the ball upfield making good ground before a try was scored under the posts after several close phases of play. The outside half kicked the conversion. 7-14 . However, Heath stuck to their task and they continued to defend well against an increasingly-confident opposition. After 67 minutes, with the 3rd xv game having ended, Matt TOLAN entered the fray to bring Heath back up to the full compliment. Heath then began to use their backs and there followed some good running and interpassing between Tom COLLINGE, Martin BARNES and David CRAIGIE before a good kick through from Tom COLLINGE found touch. On regaining possession, Heath again attempted to run the ball down the backline and David CRAIGIE ran the ball in well but with such heavy conditions under foot, it was always going to be difficult to make any real headway. But credit to the boys for giving it a go. After 73 minutes, the ball was lost by Heath just inside the Skipton half and the home side made good ground through the forwards before the outside put a deft kick through to the Heath line and in the chase to reach the ball, the Skipton player knocked the ball forward. Skipton kept the pressure on and play remained in the Heath '22'. After 77 minutes, the ball was moved out right by Skipton and after a short passage of play, they went over for an unconverted try in the corner. 7-19. The final 3 minutes were played out with little incident and the referee blew the whistle for 'No side'. Final score Skipton 19 v Heath 7. In the awful conditions this was always going to be a forward orientated game and the bigger Skipton made their height and weight advantage tell. That said, after the first 15-20 minutes, the Heath pack stood toe to toe with Skipton and never took a backward step. Both forwards and backs put in good tackling stints and the Heath backline attempted to run the ball but the conditions just would not allow it. However, credit to the lads for trying. Man of the match awards went to number 8, Karl RABY, who put in a very good tackling effort and always attempted to get the Heath pack going forward with some good, strong running and scrum half, Matthew HALLETT who made some excellent tackles throughout the game, scored a very good try and proved to be a good link between forwards and backs in difficult conditions.



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