Match Report
Heath RUFC (25) vs Huddersfield Laund Hill (30)
Saturday 27 January 2007
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Good game, but the Seconds just miss out

Reporter: Spud Taylor.
Dated: 30 November -0001
Heath 2nd. Heath played host to Huddersfield YMCA in a Merit Table game after their week’s break, due to the cancellation of the game against Halifax Vandals through a waterlogged pitch, previously. The home side put out a strong side with a debut in the centre for 19 years old, Gareth WEBB. YMCA kicked off playing towards the road end and with no-one putting claim to the ball; the opposition were immediately on the front foot. Heath weathered the early pressure and forced their way upfield where they were awarded a penalty kick for a handling offence in the ruck. Oliver COOK stepped up and placed the ball between the sticks from 35 metres for a 3-0 lead after only 4 minutes. The game was restarted and YMCA regained possession and kept Heath pinned in their own half. Their pressure was rewarded for an offside offence at a ruck some 25 metres out just to the side of the posts. The penalty was kicked. 3-3 after only 7 minutes. YMCA continued to grow in confidence from the restart and Heath were soon pegged back in their own half once more. A kick through was touched down in the “In goal” area but the resulting “22” metre drop out fell to the YMCA full back who ran at speed back towards the home side half. Although tackled, YMCA were able to quickly recycle good ball and 3 phases later the right-winger was left in space to score a try near the corner. The conversion was missed but the score was 3-8 after 11 minutes. YMCA again grew in confidence and excellent support play between both backs and forwards kept Heath on the back foot for several minutes. However, Heath dug in and excellent try-saving tackles from both right wing, Rob OWEN and scrum half, Matthew HALLETT kept the Seconds in touch. Heath then gained good ground into the opposition half and when possession was lost by YMCA, some 40 metres from their own line, Heath capitalised and the forwards took the ball on at speed and, after a couple of forcing runs, left wing, Mick GLEESON, claimed the ball and scampered over for a well-worked try. Oliver COOK kicked a good conversion to regain Heath the lead at 10-8 after 19 minutes. This was turning into a very entertaining game with both teams wanting to play expansive rugby in good, firm conditions. After 22 minutes, the pendulum swung once more. A clearance kick from the home “22” was missed and YMCA ran the ball back at Heath with purpose. Rob OWEN was called upon to put in yet another try saving tackle on his opposite number but the ball was quickly laid back and when handed to the well-built second row, there was no stopping him from 8 metres out. The conversion was successful and the score was now 10-15 after 22 minutes. YMCA were looking very useful in attack and very solid in defence and they increased their lead in the 27th minute from a penalty awarded for offside. 10-18. In the last 7-8 minutes of the half, Heath gained the ascendancy and they had a sustained period of pressure in the YMCA “22”. At this stage, the YMCA forwards appeared to be running out of steam. An excellent driving maul took Heath to within 5 metres of the line but, after it had been deliberately collapsed by YMCA, Heath were awarded a 5-metre scrum only. Although the ball was won, Heath were unable to breach the strong YMCA defensive line. Centre, Martin SHAW, left the field with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Gavin WIGGINS who went onto the left wing with Mick GLEESON moving inside to centre. The whistle went for half time. This was unfortunate for Heath as they were starting to “get on top” and the half time interval gave YMCA chance to regroup. Rick CARTER and Michael STEAD entered the fray at this stage replacing prop forward Roger HAMMOND and second row forward, Oliver COOK respectively Heath kicked off the second half knowing that the first score was going to be vital. Unfortunately, YMCA took advantage of a Heath knock-on near the halfway line and, picking up the loose ball, quickly passed it between both backs and forwards leading to a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but 10-23 after only 43 minutes was not the start to the half the Heath boys were looking for. But, as has been the case all season, Heath showed their fighting spirit and regained a foothold back in the game after 50 minutes when YMCA lost possession just outside their own “22”. The ball was passed down the Heath back line and full back and captain, Emlyn JAMES put in a superbly- weighted grubber kick behind the YMCA defence for Rob OWEN to chase and touch down in the corner for a good try. Gareth WEBB took over kicking duties from Oliver COOK and kicked an excellent conversion from wide out. 17-23 after 50 minutes. Heath then had a good spell of possession and were beginning to take a grip of the game. Their pressure was rewarded in the 57th minute when the lead was reduced to 20-23 with a penalty being kicked by Gareth WEBB after an offside offence. Heaths’ tails were now well and truly up and confidence was high. Five minutes later, it was a different story altogether. YMCA had a scrum just inside their own half. The number 8 picked up at the base of the scrum and went blind. He was able to find his right-winger who made good ground down the touchline albeit two attempted tackles on him were sadly missed. When he was tackled, he managed to throw the ball infield where there was sufficient support from his teammates to enable the wing forward to score a try, which was successfully converted to give YMCA breathing space at 20-30. Second row, Neil SMURTHWAITE had to leave the field to be replaced by David FREEMAN This was a “sickener” for the Heath boys, who had put a lot of effort in to get themselves back into this close encounter. But, once again, when it would have been so easy to drop their heads, the Heath lads put in a tremendous, courageous effort in an attempt to rescue the game. Roger HAMMOND re-entered the match replacing fellow prop, Tom WARD. After 74 minutes, their pressure was rewarded when the ball went loose just outside the YMCA “22” and home outside half, Tom COLLINGE, put in an astute kick to the corner. The ball was chased down by Mick GLEESON who claimed the touchdown. Although Gareth WEBB missed the conversion, it was now 25-30 and all to play for. From the resulting kick-off, Heath again worked their way back upfield and were awarded a penalty some 30 metres out from the YMCA line. With time running out, the kick at goal was not an option and a kick to the corner was taken. Although Heath won the resulting line out, they could not get the vital try and YMCA were able to clear to touch for the referee to blow for “No side”. This had been a very entertaining game played in a good spirit between two very good 2nd xv’s. Huddersfield YMCA had provided Heath with their most difficult game of the season thus far and, on the balance of play, the opposition just about deserved their victory. However, Heath can most certainly hold their heads high as they never stopped trying and put in their accustomed 100% effort that has been a feature of their game from the very start of the season. Well done, lads. Man of the match awards were given to Rob OWEN who had an excellent game in both attack and defence, notably his 2 excellent try-saving tackles in the first half, and, in the forwards, the ever-consistent Mark WARRENDER who lead by example, working tremendously hard throughout.



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