Match Report
Heath RUFC (34) vs Keighley RUFC (24)
Saturday 23 March 2019
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Entertaining game played in an excellent spirit.

Reporter: Steve Dawes
Dated: 24 March 2019


Heath 2nd xv hosted Keighley 2nd xv at West Vale in a Northern Championship Merit League game hoping to reverse the result from the fixture at Keighley a few weeks ago. It was a dry, sunny afternoon with the pitch in perfect condition for open, flowing rugby.


Keighley got the game underway playing towards Stainland Road and the kick resulted in a ‘knock on’ and a scrum to the visitors. They won the scrum and maintained a position in the Heath ‘22’ before being awarded a penalty for offside which the scrum half duly converted. 0-3 after 2 minutes.


However it was not long before Heath responded with the 1st try of the game. The kick off was well taken by 2nd row, Brook Ward and Heath were on the front foot. Pressure by the forwards was put on the Keighley line and, after 8 minutes, ‘guest’ prop, Paddy Kerr took the ball 7 metres out and ‘side-stepped’ his way over the line for a try. The difficult conversion by scrum half, Richard Cole, was narrowly wide. 5-3.


Heath continued to dictate the game but mistakes and wrong options prevented any addition to the score until the 27th minute when full back, Chris Robinson, ran back a long kick with interest before passing to the supporting outside half, Junaid Malik who slipped out an excellent pass to flanker, Matthew Wilkinson who skipped over the line to extend the lead to 10-3. The conversion was missed.


To their credit, Keighley came back into the game and were encamped in the Heath ‘22’ using their forwards to gain territory slowly but surely. Eventually the pressure told and the Heath defence was broken with a try converted by the scrum half to level the score at 10-10.


Keighley continued to press and it came as no surprise when the centre made a good break in centre field before passing to the supporting flanker who finished the move under the posts with a try which the scrum half duly converted. 10-17 after 36 minutes.


From the kick off Heath put pressure on the Keighley team and forced a handling mistake which replacement, Olli Burbridge, picked up well and made good ground into the visitors ‘22’. Heath retained possession through their forwards before the ball was passed down the line for right winger, Danny Greenwood to score a further unconverted try in the corner. 15-17.


In the final minute of play, Keighley were awarded a penalty in their own half, a decision which Paddy Kerr informed the referee that he disagreed with and he was sent to the side lines for a 10 minutes breather. Half time followed shortly afterwards.


HT     Heath 15 v 17 Keighley

Heath started the 2nd half with 14 players but it was them that actually opened the scoring in the 49th minute when centre, Chris Beever made a good break in midfield before Keighley transgressed and a penalty was kicked to touch. The ball was won and the forwards were used to maintain pressure on the Keighley defence before the ball was passed to the right down the line. Number 8, Joe Shipman, took a pass and, although the defender was on him straightaway, he offloaded an excellent pass to supporting hooker, James Whitworth who showed good speed to outstrip the defence to score an unconverted try in the corner. 20-17. Paddy Kerr returned to the fray.


Heath continued to press and extended their lead after 53 minutes when Matthew Wilkinson was in support, as usual, and finished off a move to score his 2nd try which Richard Cole converted to give Heath a cushion to lead 27-17.


Shortly afterwards, centre Jack Bruce kicked through and Matthew Wilkinson chased the ball which was mishandled by the Keighley full back and he was able to kick the ball towards the line. It looked to be going ‘dead’ but it stopped just before the dead ball line and he managed to knock the ball forwards thus denting him a hat trick - - the things you do to prevent having to buy a jug of ale for your mates!!!!


Poor Wilky then left the field with a leg injury ensuring that a jug was not forthcoming. After 59 minutes, Keighley came back at Heath and scored a further converted try to bring the score to 27-24 and it was getting a little too close for comfort. However, Heath responded well and took the sting out of the game playing rugby predominantly in the visitors half.


After 75 minutes, the visitors’ defence was breached for a final time when Chris Robinson stepped inside the defence to score a try under the posts which was converted by Richard Cole. 34-24. The final few minutes were played in midfield mainly and referee, James Bex, brought the game to an end.


FT    Heath 34 v 24 Keighley


This was a good, entertaining game played in an excellent spirit between 2 sides who gave it their all throughout.


Also, a quick word about our outstanding flanker, Max Dawes who left the field injured and subsequently was diagnosed with a badly broken thumb which requires surgery. All the very best to Max on his recovery from all at Heath RUFC.



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