Match Report: Saturday 23 September 2017

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 28 vs Moortown RUFC 20

Nip and Tuck till the very end, but Jordan's fine try seals it.

Every so often a match is played which will go down in the history books as one both sets of supporters will talk about for many years to come and today the players from Heath and Moortown served up such a spectacle as they went head to head in a battle that lasted the full eighty minutes - with the result in doubt up to the final minute of the game. Visitors Moortown must be wondering how they did not come away from the game with a point as they battled to break down a resiliant Heath defence in a game that  highlighted Yorkshire 1 as being the best Level 7 league in the country.

Heath began the game under the cosh from the first whistle and a penalty kick from Daryl Gaunt, the Moortown fly half, saw the visitors lead 3-0 in the first minute. Moortown continued to pulverise the Heath defence but the home side clawed their way back into the game with captain Ian Downsborough leading the way and prop Chris Moore and Ezra Hunchliffe linking to release wing Tobias Hinchliffe, but the danger was cleared. Gaunts huge clearances were putting the Heath defence under constant pressure but Sam Pollard was as ever very dependable clearing the danger. Heath managed to withstand the onslaught and Peter Birkett linked well with Jason Merrie and Jordan Bradbrook which saw Heaths first real attack in the twentieth minute. Bradbrook was injured in this attack but resumed and from the resulting scrum Richard Brown and Chris Moore drove forwards to set up Heaths next attack. Moortown found touch but from the lineout Seiffe Boussaada grabbed the ball to find Birkett who then released Jack Crabtree. Quick hands from Crabtree found Sam Pollard and a clever back pass saw Tobias Hinchliffe go over in the corner for a try and Heath led 5-3 after 23 minutes. This was a good response from Heath after a difficult first 20 minute period but they were back under the cosh from the re-start as Moortown pressed. A stray pass from Birkett was intercepted by Moortown and despite the efforts of Jordan Bradbrook, who chased the player down, wing Bobby Taylor was in support and went over under the posts for a try. The conversion by Gaunt saw a score of 10-5 to the visitors after 28 minutes. Paddy Kerr was replaced by James Watson at prop and shortly after Jordan Bradbrook had to leave the field for treatment, so Eddie Cartwright joined the battle. Back came Heath and Jason Merrie, who was having an excellent game, was instrumental in setting up Matt Beasty, Boussaada and Richard Brown in the next attack. A missed penalty from Hinchliffe and an attempted drop kick from Crabtree saw Moortown under the cosh as Heath battered the visitors defence. A scrum starting 20 metres out from the visitors try line saw Brown in control but for some unknown reason referee Kevin Weston blew for a restart, as a score beckoned. Once again Brown controlled the scrum and finished with a try, converted by Ezra Hinchliffe, and Heath led 12-10 with half time approaching. However, Moortown were quickly back in the action and centre Hush Tyrell Tohovaka barged his way over for a try under the posts, converted by Gaunt and Moortown led 17-12 as half time came. It had been an exciting first half and both sets of supporters were ready for more of the same as the game restarted after the break.

Matt Beasty was replaced by Fergus Marsden in the second row as the battle re-commenced. Moortown were first to press but Ezra Hinchliffe managed to clear the danger to set up a Heath attack. The visitors were having difficulty surpressing the Heath scrum but managed to hold out. A stray pass was intercepted by Sam Pollard but he could not capitalise on the error as Heath tried to force the game but it was down to a penalty from Ezra Hinchliffe to reduce the arrears, 17-15, with a quarter of the game remaining. Both sides continued to test each other out and missed a couple of penalty attempts before Hinchliffe was once again successful with a kick on the half way line which just crept over the bar and Heath led 18-17 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Boussaada and Kerr were replaced by Beasty and Watson as coach Harrison tried to control proceedings but Moortown had other ideas and began to batter once again the Heath defence. They were rewarded with a drop kick from Gaunt to restore the lead 20-18 and the visiting supporters must have felt they were about to witness an away victory with minutes remaining. Back came Heath and after Moortown buckled under pressure at a Heath scrum Ezra Hinchliffe restored Heaths lead 21-20 from the resulting penalty. The crowd were on the edges of their seats as the clock wound down and Moortown battled back but it was Heath who were to remain in control and when Sam Pollard picked up the ball and set off on a run he released the supporting Jordan Bradbrook who went over for a try  to send the crowd into raptures of delight. The conversion was by Hinchliffe, the final whistle sounded and Heath had won a monumental battle 28-20 depriving the visitors of a point with the last play of the game.

Coach Dave Harrison said after the match “That is what Yorkshire 1 rugby is all about. Moortown are an excellent team and will go on to survive but the Heath lads were excellent, kept compact and worked hard for the win. A great game”.

 

HEATH RUFC MATCH STATISTICS
Tries 3 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 3
Conversions 2 Attendance 200
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