Match Report
Heath RUFC (19) vs Huddersfield Laund Hill (5)
Saturday 8 March 2008
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Bad conditions but a good performance and result!

Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd xv entertained Huddersfield YMCA in a Merit Table game in difficult conditions with a swirling wind and increasingly heavy rainfall. A victory today would cement the team's position in mid table. YMCA kicked off and the first few minutes were spent in the Heath half, but easily repelled any YMCA attacks. Defence was turned into attack in one fell swoop when outside half, Mick GLEESON, retrieved the ball in his own ' 22' and kicked it into touch in the opposition '22'. Heath were unable to take advantage and the ball found its way back into the Heath half. YMCA were almost entirely relying on the boots of both their outside half and particularly the fullback who possessed a very good right foot. After 11 minutes, it was from one of the fullback's raking kicks that the away side opened their account. It found touch 5 metres from the Heath line and the ball was thrown to homeside number 2 jumper, Oliver COOK, but it was not controlled and infact held up nicely for the YMCA hooker to catch and dive in at the corner for an unconverted try. 0-5. The Heath pack was taking control, particularly in the scrums where they were disrupting opposition ball on all occasions. However, as mentioned previously, the ball was continually being kicked deep by YMCA to relieve any pressure. However, after 27 minutes, Heath gained reward for their forward dominance. From an attacking line out, the ball was quickly transferred to centre, Alan SCHOLEFIELD, who burst through his opposite number making good ground before being tackled. Heath were subsequently awarded a penalty for offside some 15 metres out. Number 8, Dean COTTON, took a quick tap and drove for the line. He was stopped just short but when he went to ground, the ball was laid back for the supporting left wing, Colin HEWISON, to pick up and force his way over next to the corner flag. Oliver COOK judged the conversion to perfection. 7-5. Heath continued to gain the ascendancy by utilising their dominating pack and the opposition '8' was becoming increasingly frustrated. In the 33rd minute, the YMCA prop decided to have a few digs with his fist at Oliver COOK who was lying on the ground. Dean COTTON, having seen what was happening, stuck up for his team mate and gave the prop a little of his own medicine. The result was both players being sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes and YMCA being awarded a penalty for retaliation. Fair enough. This certainly assisted YMCA as they immediately opted for uncontested scrums. However, Heath managed to increase their lead on half time. YMCA took the ball right some 40 metres from their own line. Stopped and passed it back inside but behind the supporting full back. The ball was then initially hacked forward by Heath's James WHEELWRIGHT and Mick GLEESON followed by kicking the ball twice before he was able to pounce on it over the try line, just at the side of the posts. Oliver COOK made no mistake with the conversion. Half time 14-5. The second half opened brightly for the home side. They kicked off and secured the ball which was quickly transferred to Alan SCHOLEFIELD who made some 30 metres with a powerful burst before it was lost; the clearing kick was picked up by full back, Chris O’CONNOR, who put an excellent kick within 5 metres of the YMCA line. The two earlier transgressors then returned to the fray and scrums were back to normal. After 43 minutes, the lead was increased. Heath were awarded a penalty some 20 metres from the YMCA line and, from a set move, the ball was passed to second row, Neil SMURTHWAITE, who carried it to within 5 metres of the line where he was assisted by his pack to cross the line and scored a well-worked try. Oliver COOK missed the conversion. 19-5 and the YMCA heads appeared to drop. After 52 minutes, the YMCA hooker left the field with a leg injury and we were back to uncontested scrums. At this, replacement flanker Richard DANCE, went into the front row for Rick CARTER. Shortly afterwards, Neil SMURTHWAITE was replaced by Barry SYKES. A good piece of play then followed. From an attacking line out some 22 metres out, the ball was won and quickly passed out to wing forward, James WHEELWRIGHT, who took up the outside half position. He made an excellent burst towards the line and when he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled and passed down the line. Unfortunately, the pass from outside centre, David CRAIGIE, to Colin HEWISON was correctly adjudged forward and the opportunity was lost. Heath continued to dictate with right wing Martin BARNES putting in some excellent chases to kicks through by the Heath boys, charging down on a couple of occasions. However, the reintroduction of uncontested scrums certainly did not favour the home side who were totally dominant in this department and Heath then found it difficult to gather the momentum they showed in the first half. That said, they were still bossing the game and did not look in danger of conceding, the vast majority of play taking place in the YMCA half. After 73 minutes, the dangerous YMCA wing forward set off on a strong 50 metre run taking play to just outside the home '22'. This led to a couple of minutes of pressure in the home '22' but good, solid defence kept them out. Whilst in the '22', YMCA were awarded a penalty some 10 metres out and, ironically, they opted for the scrum!!!!! It was uncontested though. Justice was done when no score was forthcoming. Heath then got themselves back up the field and the referee brought the game to an end. The Heath pack laid the foundations for this well-deserved victory and got their just desserts. The backline tackled and linked well throughout the game. All in all, this was a deserved victory for the Heath lads in very poor conditions and I am certain that the margin of victory would have been substantially more but for uncontested scrums. Man of the match awards went to second row, Michael STEAD, who played with controlled aggression throughout (well, controlled almost throughout!!) and played a massive part in the Heath packs' domination of their counterparts in the loose with some sterling work and, in the backs, the bursting runs and excellent tackling of centre, Alan SCHOLEFIELD, won him the award.



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