Terrible journey over there. But worth it for the Result!
Heath travelled to the East coast to take on mid-table Hullensians looking to get back on track following the Derby disappointment loss last week to Old Rishworthians. However, coach Dave Harrison had to make several enforced changes to the side with Ben Maxwell and Chris Piper out injured and Eddie Cartwright, Si Brown and Olly Cook away on holiday. In came Tobias Hinchliffe on the wing, as Jason Merrie moved to fill Maxwells place in the scrum, Callum Harriett-Brown had a start after being on the bench for the last two games and Sam Pollard started at full back for his first game of the season. Chris Moore returned to the front row and Paddy Kerr took the other berth after being on the bench last week. Heaths bench saw first places for Fergus Marsden, Martyn Barnes and the evergreen James Watson who has returned to the club.
With a delayed start to the game, due to Heath being held up in roadworks on the M62, against a strong wind Heath began brightly as both sides tested each other out. On 10 minutes the first break came for Heath when Ezra Hinchliffe made a break but his pass to the supporting Peter Birkett went astray. Heath continued to look for an opening and when they were awarded a penalty Hinchliffes kick went just wide. Hullensians response was immediate and full back Guy Martinson made no mistake with a penalty attempt for the home side to lead 3-0 after 17 minutes. From the restart Chris Moore charged the attempted clearance down and Heath had a 5 metre scrum, The Heath pack looked to get possession of the ball but the home side held firm and cleared their lines. Next Sam Pollard had a clever kick covered by Martinson as Heath looked for a score but found a resilient defence. James Watson came on for Paddy Kerr after 25 minutes and he was quickly into the fray as Hullensians went looking for a score. Heath needed to find some cohesion and when Ezra Hinchliffes penalty found touch on 35 minutes an opportunity arose for Heath to get on the scoreboard. Richard Brown, Matt Beasty and Chris Moore worked hard to get the ball forwards and when Jack Crabtree missed out a player to throw the ball out to Callum Harriett-Brown on the wing he set off on a jinkingr runto go over for a try, converted by Hinchliffe and Heath led 7-3 as half time came.
The start of the second half saw Hullensians work hard to get back into the game and Martinsons penalty attempt on 47 minutes went just wide. Fergus Marsden and Martyn James replaced Tobias Hinchliffe and James Watson and then began a Heath retaliation. Once again Brown, Beasty and Crabtree were prominent and a short pass to Jordan Bradbrook saw him evade three tackles to go over under the posts for Heaths second try, converted by Ezra Hinchliffe, and a score of 14-3 after 54 minutes. Sam Pollard at fullback was putting in some monstrous kicks and one set up Heaths next attack. Seiffe Boussaada was involved as he linked with Peter Birkett and Paddy Kerr, back on for Beasty, was bundled into touch as he went for the try-line. Heath continued to batter the home defence and Bradbrook and Crabtree linked to release Jason Merrie but he was held short of the line also. Next Alex McFadden and Ian Downsborough worked to release Harriett-Brown but once again the Hullensians defence held firm. Boussaada and Kerr were replaced by Beasty and Watson on 68 minutes but shortly after they entered the game Merrie was sin binned for a high tackle and Heath were down to fourteen players. Hullensians responded and only a try saving tackle from Harriett-Brown prevented a score for the home side as play became frantic. Barnes was injured in a tackle so Boussaaada returned and when Pollard and Bradbrook linked well Heath thought they had scored their third try as Pollard released Birkett to go under the posts only for the touch judge to put his flag up for a foot in touch. Heath kept the pressure on and from a line out Boussaada won the ball and Heaths pack drove forwards and Watson emerged under the pile of players for Heaths third try as full time approached. A missed conversion but a score of 19-3 saw Heath looking in a comfortable position. However, to their credit, Hullensians kept battling and when Guy Martinson went under the posts for a converted try Hullensians looked as if they could steal a point but the referee blew for full time and a score of 19-10 saw a deserved Heath win.
Coach Harrison was pleased with the way his team had battled, “the response from my players after last weeks defeat, was superb and I thought we fully deserved to get the points. Next week we are at home to Moortown, last seasons promoted team and once again we need to start the game in the right frame of mind. It’s more hard work on the training paddock this week”.