Heath Hawks 25-31 Sandal 2’s
Heron, Ashton, Carter, Hampshire, James, Sharp, Wilkinson, Morrison, Granger, Cartwright, Firth, Owen, Malthouse, Bruce, Thomson.
Subs: Dawes & Cook.
Tries: Thomson, Wilkinson & Granger.
Cons: Thomson (2).
Pens: Thomson (2).
⭐️Player of the match: Eddie Cartwright⭐️
The Hawks returned to league action against Sandal after an unbeaten start to the year.
The home side started brightly and dominated field position and possession. Under pressure, Sandal conceded a number of penalties, Zak Thomson kicking two to open up a six-point lead. Back rowers, Matthew Wilkinson and Joe Morrison made long breaks as Heath looked the more likely to add to their tally. Centres, Tom Owen, Jack Malthouse, and later Jack Bruce all had good games, combining strong defence with industrious attacking play. Thomson finished superbly after hitting a great line and rounding the fullback.
Sandal capitalised on a combination of poor ball control and discipline to score from close range. From the restart, George Heron chased hard to force a mistake and put the Hawks back on the attack. A few phases later, Morrison pushed through the defence and offloaded to Wilkinson who scored near the posts, Thomson converted. However, despite some desperate defence, Heath conceded two late tries to fall behind for the first time. Half time 18-19.
The Hawks knew that they had brought pressure on themselves and needed to be more clinical near the line, far too often losing set pieces to allow Sandal to clear their lines.
Max Dawes, Carter Haigh and Sam Sharp carried well, with Oliver Cook replacing Leon Ashton as Heath tried to hit back. However, Sandals strong running number 8 beat several would be tacklers to score from 50 metres. Player of the match, Eddie Cartwright backed up his excellent defence with some great attacking play to try and get the team moving. The electric, Jake Firth ran well every time he received the ball with only last-ditch tackling stopping him. The visitors continued to play in the right areas and eventually the pressure told as their backs broke through a tiring defence to score under the posts. Undeterred, Heath looked to get back in the game. Harry Granger had a great game at scrum half and scored a deserved try, spotting a gap on the blind side and finishing well, Thomson converting superbly from the touchline. With time running out Heath were unable to get up field as Sandal saw the game out. Full time 25-31.
The Hawks could easily have won this game and played some excellent rugby at times. We’ll regroup and go again next week at Scunthorpe.