Much Improved Heath Produce a Fine Win, Despite Conditions.
Heath U16’s vs Roundhegians
Heath 24 Tries: Matt Nicholson (2), Isaac Shaw, Harry Stevens, Jack Lumb 2 Con.
Forwards: 1) Callum Pickett, 2) Nathan Baldwyn, 3) Ed Vickers, 4) Toby Laurie, 5) Jamie Reeve - V Capt, 6) Will Simpson, 7) Sam McIntyre - Capt, 8) Isaac Shaw
Backs: 9) Owen Simpson, 10) Ben Gianotti, 11) Seb Wood-Ives, 12) Harry Stevens 13) Will Nicholson 14) Dillon Hilton 15) Jack Lumb
Subs 16) Ben Kershaw 17) Jack Mollett, 18) Finlay Verry, 19) Max Rowntree, 20) George Barton
The West Vale No 2 pitch was the venue for Sundays match-up with the Roundhegians outfit from Leeds.Steady rain throughout the morning meant that both sides would have to work hard on ball retention, especially handling in the tackle.
Heath kicked off towards the No 1 pitch and were quickly in possession due to a knock on from the visitors in their own 22.Roundhegians had the edge in the first scrum but the ball was scrambled through the halves to Centre Will Nicholson who crashed through the middle.With the ball being recycled at the breakdown time after time the visitors were struggling to get any decent possession and when they did, from a penalty, missed touch only to find Second Five Eighth Harry Stevens running it back into their 22.
Heath were still battling away in the visitors half, who were defending with commitment including some desperate tackles on the rampaging No 8 Isaac Shaw and debutant Matt Nicholson.Eventually that pressure forced the defensive error and Matt Nicholson crashed over for his first try for the club, and Heath led 5-0 after nine minutes.
Kick off saw the Leeds sides fist venture into the Heath half and it was the home sides time to knuckle down and defend.A lost scrum feed under our own posts saw Roundhegians cross the line only to be judged to have knocked on in the process, a let off for Heath.
Our 22 restart saw Fullback Jack Lumb put Heath back in the visitors half where they started to ramp up the pressure again.Although the visitors had a slight advantage in the scrum, the halves of Owen Simpson and Ben Gianotti were setting the midfield and outsides on their way with Matt Nicholson causing issues on the crash and out wide whenever a bit of space became available.Wings Dillon Hilton and Seb – Wood-Ives, replaced shortly after by Max Rowntree at 19 minutes were the beneficiaries of that space, linking up with the Centres and Fullback Jack Lumb who was regularly hitting the backline at pace.
With 13 minutes of the first half remaining more substitutions were made with Finlay Verry and Ben Kershaw providing refresh legs in the Second Row for Toby Laurie and Jamie Reeve, and Jack Mollett coming into the front row for Callum Pickett.
Quick ball through the backs led to Dillon Hilton making good ground down the left wing.From the breakdown Heath received a penalty that Jack Lumb sent into the corner for lineout near the visitors 5m line for Heath to loose the ball in the post lineout maul allowing Roundhegians to relieve the pressure with big kick to touch on the clubhouse side of the field.
From a scrum 10m into our half Harry Stevens set off on a run through the middle and when confronted with a number of defenders chip kicked over the top, won the chase and scored an excellent individual try 10 m to the right of the sticks.Heath saw out the remainder of the half to finish up 10-0 ahead at the break.
As the rain continued the reversal of the three forward subs at half time had given the three starters a rest and allowed the three subs the same to return later in the match.The start of the second half saw Roundhegians in the Heath half and picking up their first points 4 minutes into the half.Unconverted, with the score at 10-5 to Heath, the visitors were in the middle to a good period on attack but the home side loosies of Captain Sam McIntyre, Will Simpson and Hooker Nathan Baldwyn assisted by hardworking Prop Ed Vickers were winning enough of the loose ball battles to keep the Heath backs supplied with good quick ball.
A mazy run by Dillon Hilton linking with Sam McIntyre edged Heath closer to the visitors line eventually leading to an Isaac Shaw try.A Jack Lumb Conversion pushed the score out to 17-5, nine minutes into the second half.
Replacements were fed back into the playing 15 to keep momentum with Heath and it was having the desired effect with good defence keeping the visitors at bay while providing opportunities across the park with rehearsed structured play being the order of the day.The backs were running moves that needed good hands on such a wet day, including Fullback Jack Lumb running off the inside shoulder of First Five Eighth Ben Gianotti as he had done the previous week.
Next score was to be Heaths, excellent ball possession and recycling at the breakdown pulled in the visitors defence leaving space out wide for Centre Matt Nicholson to ghost through the space and score to the left hand side of the posts, his second of the day.Jack Lumb converted his second of the day to take the score to 24-5.
However, it would be the visitors who scored the last points, going over near the right hand corner with nine minutes.Last of the replacements made leaving Heath playing out the final few minutes within the Roundhegian half.
Despite the poor conditions, both sides equipped themselves well and some excellent handling saw good flowing rugby played by both sides.Heaths improvement in the structured elements of the game was noticeable and a win against a side of the quality of Roundhegians, a side that put over 60 on Heath last season over two fixtures, shows the improvement that has been made.
Three players of the match selected by Coaches Jason Merrie and Jack Crabtree;