Match Report
Colne and Nelson. (5) vs Heath RUFC (67)
Saturday 1 November 2008
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Impressive performance brings a win.

Reporter: Karl Raby.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd XV. The optimism that came from selection of the season’s strongest team was lost when we had the usual raft of last minute cry offs. However, as has been the case throughout, the coaching fraternity retained solidarity, with KP electing to take only two subs into a vital league game in order that the seconds could travel with a strong bare XV thus leaving the thirds with a shot at posting a decent team. On this occasion, all’s well that ends well – the firsts recorded a win; the seconds were able to step up for the first win of the season whilst the thirds lost by a single score. The majority of players made the 12.15 meet time in good order, and after raising Charlie Lomas from a post noon sleep, the second team convoy took the trip over the Pennines. The match kicked off with Colne electing to play downhill with the wind at their back. In view of our uphill assignment, Tom Collinge sensibly elected to direct play from number 10 with the ball in hand rather than by use of boot. The early signs were encouraging as both centres Craigie and Raby were able to commit defenders at the line and quickly recycle the ball to the supporting forwards who then made good ground uphill toward the top corner. A Colne error in defence lead to a Heath scrum, and Charlie Lomas, by now wide awake, took a quick ball from the base of the scrum and darted blind for the first try of the game. Within minutes Heath were back in for tries number two and three. The Colne team were a mixture of vets and young lads, and with Heath having a mostly young (with the honourable exception of Tim Cook) and mobile (with the honourable exception of Rick Carter) pack, the bulk of possession was taken by Heath. Terry and Cook pushed hard in the scrums and posted the jumpers strongly in the lineouts. The Heath lineout was really clicking. Craigon’s throwing was pinpoint, and Parker was excellent at two in the line - taking his own ball and most of the opposition ball as well. The 8/9 combination of Lomas and Wheelwright was a continual menace, making good ground in attack; and with strong support from Parker and Cotton-Betteridge, Colne were forced to commit numbers to defending in close. The resulting gaps out wide were exploited by the Heath three quarters, and even the props got in on the act with Carter making a mazy run upfield to set up a try before Oliver Cook managed to get in on the act with a 45 metre ‘truffle shuffle’ down the blind side for a well taken 5 pointer. Half time came with Heath having run in five tries to nil. The second half started with a well taken try to the Colne number 8, though this proved to be a blip as Heath then continued where the first half had entered. Long serving winger Rob Owen had a guest return, and scored a peach of a solo effort in the corner. Not to be outdone, Colin Hewison managed to roll back the years with a couple of long range efforts to take his afternoon return to a hat-trick - if only he could run downhill with the wind at his back every game! Ryan Hunter joined the line from full back on several occasions and was eventually rewarded with a try – he then iced the cake by converting his own try with a touchline kick. Charlie Lomas snook over for his third of the game to cap an outstanding performance – luckily he’s only 17 and so could not legally buy a jug! The final result was 67 points to 5 in Heath’s favour. For all that the teams were clearly mis-matched, Colne stuck to their task, and it was pleasing from the Heath perspective that the majority of tries came from multi-phase play creating overlaps. This was very much a whole team performance, though special mention must go to Charlie Lomas, TD Wheelwright and Dave Cotton-Betteridge who between them must have made 300 yards in attack, and set the platform for much of the scoring. It’s to be hoped that with the imminent return of Ambler and Hanson to the pack, and Shaw to the three-quarters that this will be the springboard for the second team. Team training will be Thursday night.



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