HEATH RETURN TO WINNING WAYS
Heath entertained Pontefract in the Yorkshire Shield looking for revenge after losing in a Yorkshire 1 league encounter last week. Coach Dave Harrison was not happy with the performance in the league game and wanted his charges to put in a much more dedicated and positive performance and he was rewarded as his side romped to a convincing win to reach the quarter-finals. Unavailable was flying winger Callum Harriett-Brown so in came the evergreen Si Brown on the wing. Rested was influential number 8 Richard Brown but his replacement Jordan Moana was a late withdrawal and so captain Ian Downsborough moved with Peter Birkett drafted in at wing forward. Starting the game at scrum half was Michael Reynolds who deserved his chance, whilst on the bench there was a welcome return of Matt Beasty and Chris Piper alongside the ageless Mark Puttick and a debutant from the seconds Jack Bruce.
Play began in superb conditions and there was early prominence from Seiffe Boussadda and Olly Cook who were making their presences felt with some strong tackles. An offload from Fergus Marsden to Cook saw Heath on the attack as Pontefract were struggling to adjust to the game and it was a much improved opening 10 minutes for the home side as they went in search of an opening score. Michael Reynolds was instrumental in prompting his forwards and his slick pass to Fergus Marsden saw the second row storm over for an opening try, converted by Ezra Hinchliffe, and Heath led 7-0 with 13 minutes played. Heath continued to press and Jonny Cole was held up over the try-line as the home side went in search of a second score. Dan Cole had his kicking boots on as he found touch and from the line out Marsden won the ball and Cole was on hand to slip through the visitors defence for a second try, converted by Hinchliffe and Heath were in charge 14-0 with 17 minutes played. There was no stopping the home side and Pontefract could not stem the onslaught and a charge down clearance from the influential Fergus Marsden saw the lock scoop up the ball and score a converted try under the posts, 21-0 with a quarter of the game played. Heath were in control but when Jack Crabtree was sin-binned on 25 minutes it enabled the visitors the opportunity to claw their way back into the game. Mark Puttick and Chris Piper replaced Alex McFadden and Fergus Marsden but they were powerless to prevent Pontefract opening their account with a converted try and a score of 21-7 on 28 minutes. From the re-start Jacob Storey caught a superb re-start ball which enabled Heath to set up an immediate response putting the visitors defence under pressure but with the half coming to an end there was no further score and Heath looked comfortable with their lead.
The second half saw Heath attacking the score-board end and they quickly gained the upper hand. Matt Beasty had replaced Olly Cook and he was quickly into the action winning line out ball and a super planned move involving Dan Cole and Ezra Hinchliffe enabled Eddie Cartwright to produce a slick pass to Jacob Storey but the wingman just missed adding to Heaths tally. Heath were in confident mood but an altercation between Chris Moore and the Pontefract fly half saw both players sin-binned and this saw Olly Cook return to fill the prop void with Ian Downsborough coming off. Mark Puttick was having an influential game and was involved in a charge to the line, supported by Jonny Cole and Peter Birkett, before Cook popped up for a try, converted by Hinchliffe and a score of 28-7 with 55 minutes played. Pontefract would not lie down and mounted an attack and in desperation Cook was sin-binned as he battled to prevent a score with a quarter of the game left to play. Pontefract kept up the pressure on the home defence but Heath stood firm. Jack Bruce and Fergus Marsden replaced Crabtree and Boussadda with 10 minutes remaining and they were instrumental in Heath scoring their fifth try. An interception pass from Jacob Storey saw him offload to Bruce. The wingman made a break and with Marsden in support the ball eventually came out to Dan Cole and Ezra Hinchliffe. The centres pass to Eddie Cartwright saw him sprint over the line for a superb try in the corner. Hinchliffe had his kicking boots on and the conversion saw Heath comfortable at 35-7 with 5 minutes remaining. However, Pontefract would not lie down and with the last play of the game scored a converted try to reduce the arrears to 35-14 but Heath had won the game to set up a quarter final away to Keighley next month.
This was a much improved performance from Heath and sets up nicely for next weeks league derby against Old Rishworthians at North Dean.
Finally - as last week's bit of photo fun provoked quite a few responses. Which shot has been 'photoshopped' this week? See Garf' on Tuesday..........