Heath Pack dominant throughout. The boys play right to the end and get the Win.
Heath travelled over to Keighley searching for a hat trick of wins against a side who were also looking to win at home and kick start their season. Heath brought back Callum Harriett-Brown onto the wing to replace the unavailable Tobias Hinchliffe with Olly Cook starting at prop replacing Paddy Kerr who moved onto the bench alongside Eddie Cartwright and Martyn Barnes. Following a downpour just before the start of play conditions were wet as the game kicked off.
Heath were quickly on the attack with the Heath forwards battering the home defence. A dropped pass from Heath saw Keighley wing Joe Copperthwaite kick clear and the chase was on as Sam Pollard and Copperthwaite raced to the Heath try-line with Pollard winning the race. The resulting home pressure saw a penalty awarded after 6 minutes but Alex Browns attempt hit the post and came back to Jason Merrie who cleared the danger. Keighley had no answer to Heath line outs and with Seiffe Boussaada and Matt Beasty prominent as Heath began to take hold of the game. However, Heath could not capitalise on this and as Keighley fought back and they were rewarded with a try from Jonny Clark, on 25 minutes, who reacted quickly following a series of penalties awarded by referee Lawrence Pearson. Brown added the extras and Keighley led 7-0. Heath needed to respond and from the re-start the ball came to Beasty who released Peter Birkett. His quick pass to Jack Crabtree was passed on to the supporting Ezra Hinchliffe and Keighley conceded a penalty. Heath continued to attack with Richard Brown, Chris Moore and Ian Downsborough driving forwards and under this pressure Keighley gave away another penalty and Hichliffe reduced the arrears 7-3 on the half hour mark. Heath continued to press forwards putting the home defence under pressure and yet another penalty saw Hinchliffe reduce the arrears to 7-6 after 36 minutes. However to Keighleys credit they fought back to keep in the game and a penalty from Brown ended the first half with the home side leading 10-6.
The first half had seen both sides guilty of numerous mistakes as players tried to get to grips with the slippery conditions but at the start of the second half Heath had not switched on and Keighley took advantage with a try in the corner from Joey Sugden, converted by Alex Brown, to lead 17-6 on 42 minutes. Heath responded with a move involving Jason Merrie, Jordan Bradbrook and Si Brown who chose to kick for the corner but the Keighley defence easily covered the danger. Eddie Cartwright replaced Sam Pollard on 46 minutes as Heath looked to get back into the game but Hinchliffe missed a penalty opportunity on 48 minutes. This pressure from Heath was finally rewarded with a penalty try on 54 minutes after the Heath scrum had dictated and Keighley forwards relented. Heath were back in the game 17-13 with plenty of time left.
PaddyKerr and Martyn Barnes came on for Cook and Boussaada but it was Keighley who mounted the next attack as Jordan Bradbrook put in a try saving tackle to prevent a certain score. Callum Harriett-Brown was next in action for Heath with a surging run to mount an attack on 64 minutes. Keighley were again back on the defensive and an attempted clearance was charged down by Barnes and he followed up the loose ball with a try. The conversion from Hinchliffe saw Heath lead for the first time 20-17 with ten minutes remaining.
Cookand Boussaada returned to the action as the home side went in search of a score but Heath withstood the pressure and came away with a gutsy hard earned win to keep them in the top four of Yorkshire 1.
Coach Dave Harrison was happy with the win but realised it had been a game full of mistakes from his Heath side. “It’s always difficult to get anything when we come to Keighley and today was no exception. I thought they were a good side but we never really got going and our set piece was non- existant. At times we were heavy footed and slow to re-act but I will take that and as they say a win is a win. At the start of the season we set a target of 17 points from the September fixtures and that has been achieved. Now we move on and set further targets and hope we can get there”.