Fine win on the road with a squad depleted in numbers, but not application.
1. Dance. 6. Dawes 11 Ali
2. Hammond 7. Wilby 12 Bruce
3. Kerr 8. Skinner© 13 Whitworth
4. James 9. Dorling 14 Wilkinson
5. Milner 10 Reynolds 15 Baxendale
Subs: No Subs
It was all change again for the 2nd team on their away trip to Selby, with several players attending the Grand Final, and the late withdrawals of the two replacements. Dorling came in at Scrum Half, Baxendale at Full Back and Hammond at Hooker, with Whitworth moving to wing.
The match was to take place on Selby’s very long 1st Team pitch, which would further test the team’s fitness, with no replacements to provide respite. Heath kicked off in dry conditions, after the pre-match showers had moved on. Early exchanges were scrappy, with the pack familiarising themselves with the reshuffle, however, Captain for the day Skinner and the experienced heads of Kerr, Milner, Hammond and James started to martial the team into a dominant period of play.
Early penalties conceded were fast forgotten, as Heath made several forays into their opponent’s half. With quality ball being secured at the scrum, Reynolds kicked deep into the Selby half, Whitworth showed a great turn of pace to chase and force the full back into a fumble, the ball was punted towards the Selby try line, and Wilby won the sprint from Baxendale and Whitworth to touch down in the corner. Milner, assuming kicking responsibilities for the day, missed the very difficult kick. 5-0
Selby won another penalty from the restart, but Dawes was lifted well at the lineout to spoil and tap the ball back into the hands of Dorling, Reynolds once again spotting the full back covering, kicked into space and another knock on was conceded by our opponents. Heaths scrum was dominant, as it was for large portions of the game, but we were unable to move forward. Heath were awarded a penalty for offside, Reynolds kicked into another great attacking position, however one of several lineouts was adjudged not straight. Heath pushed the scrum back 10 metres against the head forcing a kick straight into touch by Selby. Heath drove from the lineout, recycling several times as the try line beckoned. Choosing to take the scrum from another penalty, the pack drove again, first Dance was held and then Kerr, but with James supporting and taking up the ball, the line was breached for his first try of the match. 10-0 This time Milner made no mistake with the extras, from another tight angle 12-0
With Wilby collecting the restart, Reynold was there again to fire forward for Whitworth to bear down on the Selby defenders, Skinner collected the ball from the ruck and made great yardage before offloading to Reynolds, who was unlucky to have the ball ripped in contact, but continued to apply pressure forcing the Selby back to ground, in goal. Heath drove from the 5m scrum, Wilkinson attacked on the blindside, but when he was held James was there again to dive through for the score. 17-0, no extras were added
Heaths next objective was to secure the all-important bonus point, Reynolds was making Selby chase the ball at every opportunity, energy sapping on this size of pitch. With another lineout spoilt by Heath, Skinner again drove, Reynolds found Whitworth, who spotting a slower forward in front of him, skipped up the line and was unlucky not to find the supporting Baxendale inside, with what would have been a try scoring pass. The clearance by Selby was returned with interest, with the ball making its way to Skinner who then released Whitworth for a try out wide, to add the bonus. With another difficult kick Milner was unable to add the extras. 22-0
Selby to their credit, managed to shore up their defence and indeed apply pressure to the Heath line, but were held up. No further score was added before half time.
Half Time 22-0
The Interval team talk was simple as no tactical changes were needed or indeed possible
Stamina was going to be of upmost importance in the final 40 minutes, Selby being able to make a couple of changes to provide fresh legs
Selby continued where they left off and their new centre and winger were starting to challenge out wide. Excellent tackling by Ali, Bruce and Wilkinson was needed, and forcing several handling offences, Heath managed to clear their lines several times. Baxendale was the next back to have a great run, supported by Dawes who offloaded to Ali, but the ball squirted forward. The Selby scrum was again under pressure and a kick allowed Reynolds to find touch on the 22. With the ball spoilt again, Dance found room and released Ali on the 22. Using his pace and power, he broke through 3 tackles before touching down under the posts, for his first score for the Club. Milner added the extra’s 29-0
Both teams were starting to tire, and it was Selby who were the next to pressure, winning a penalty try, after Baxendale was penalised for a high tackle during a last-ditch attempt at preventing a certain Selby try 29-7.
Selby were looking dangerous and with time left they were hoping to inflict more pressure on the score-line. With early attacks once again defended with strong tackling from Wilby, Kerr and Hammond, Heath were trying to spread the play out to the backs, who had energy to spare. This eventually bore fruit, and indeed produced the move of the match.
When Dorling found Reynolds with space, he executed a great miss pass, which Bruce collected brilliantly off his boots laces, drawing the covering defender, he found Whitworth, who sprinted away for a try under the posts, which Milner converted 36-7.
Although the game seemed won, Selby were still managing to secure ball, but found it difficult to string passes together out wide. Heath were still managing to drive scrums back with the front row of Kerr, Hammond and Dance using their experience to unsettle their counterparts. The game ended without further incident and both teams appreciated the efforts each had put in.
This was a hard energy sapping game with thankfully no injuries needing replacements. The application and focus each member of the team put in was admirable. With competition for places throughout all the squads, selection headaches for the coaches will translate into more great wins going forward.