An excellent match to watch. The Heath lads showing improvement in structure and commitment since the last outing.
Tries: Dillon Hilton, Jack Lumb, Isaac Shaw, Ben Kershaw, Jack Lumb 3 Con.
This away tie at Keighley was played in excellent conditions on their 4G pitch with both the home and travelling supporters treated to an excellent competitive game of rugby played in good spirits.
Heath kicked off towards the clubhouse and were quickly rewarded a scrum inside the home sides 40 metre mark.In a 7 v 7 scrum due to Keighley being down to 14 due to illness, the Heath pack got the early shove and were penalised for pushing the Keighley pack too far.Another penalty shortly after saw Keighley slotting a penalty to go 3 – 0 up after 4 minutes.
Heath continued to have the edge in the scrums with Rake Nathan Baldwyn winning one against the head early on, which set up good forward ball for Halves Owen Simpson and Ben Gianotti.In turn the outside backs were running well with Fullback Jack Lumb starting to hit the backline at pace before linking with Wings Dillon Hilton and Seb Wood-Ives.
Despite that, and a strong run from Loose Forward Isaac Shaw being held up over the line, the first 20 minutes was all Keighley with respect to points and after 13 minutes went out to a 18 – 0 lead.Early replacements had been made with Callum Pickett and Will Simpson on for Jack Mollett and Toby Laurie respectively, shortly followed by Finlay Verry and Ben Kershaw for the hard working Saul Marson and Isaac Shaw.
Fresh legs seemed to do the trick as shortly after Heath went over in the corner with Dillon Hilton dotting down for his second try of the season reducing the deficit to 13 with 30 minutes gone.
The front five were starting to gain an edge in the rucks and competing for loose ball or disrupting the opposition ball, as well as competing at line out time with a steal from opposition throw by loose forward replacement Finlay Verry.
A penalty for a lifting tackle saw Heath kick for the corner for a period of pressure on the home sides try line.Centres Harry Stevens and Alfie Connors were working well in midfield with dummy runs or sending the ball wide to the three quarters but an injury to Alfie Connors just before half time saw an end to his day.
The second half started with Heath in the ascendancy.Isaac Shaw, Jack Mollett and Toby Laurie had returned to the fray at half time.Within two minutes Jack Lumb had latched onto a short pass just outside the Keighley 22 and jinked his way over to the right hand side of the sticks.Jack Lumb then duly converted and the score was 18 – 12.
A good period for Heath followed, spent mostly in the opposition half and the continued pressure saw Isaac Shaw go over for the five pointer, Jack Lumb converting from a difficult wide out position.Heath now led, 19 – 18, eleven minutes into the second half.
Keighley were not out yet, and their impressive Centre scored taking the lead back, 23 – 19.That was followed by a Keighley kick pass to the right wing resulting in another five points, and Heath were back to a nine point deficit.
Further replacements were made with Finlay Verry and Ben Kershaw returning.Prop Ed Vickers seemed to be getting stronger as the match went on and with Second Row Jamie Reeve was regularly making good yards into the Keighley defence.Heath then lost Dillon Hilton to injury with ten to go and with no back replacements available Toby Laurie returned to the field as makeshift Winger.
There was still time and a short ball from Centre Harry Stevens to Ben Kershaw on the crash ball saw the replacement loosie score under the post.Jack Lumb converted his third of the day and Heath trailed by only two, with 3 minutes remaining.
The remaining three minutes were mostly spent in the Keighley half with Heath looking for that final opportunity, but the home sides defence held out until the final whistle.
An excellent match to watch, some good play from the Heath lads showing improvement in structure and commitment since the last outing.