Uncontested Scrums make it a close game.
Heath managed a win against a strong Bradford Salem side to move into the quarter finals of the Yorkshire Shield and set up a visit to Beverley on November 18th. Heath travelled to Shay Lane with a much changed squad as coach Harrison gave starting positions to Paddy Kerr, Mark Puttick, Fergus Marsden and Martyn Barnes in the forwards and Michael Reynolds and Cameron Ramsden in the backs with a bench of Richard Dance, Eddie Cartwright alongside first team regulars Alex McFadden, Chris Moore and Richard Brown.
With a strong wind in Heaths favour the visiting side kicked off and put Salem under pressure from the off. Unfortunately, Mark Puttick received a head injury after 4 minutes and was replaced by Alex McFadden. As Heath continued to press in the first 10 minutes a slick move started by Ezra Hinchliffe who passed to Reynolds and then along the line before Callum Harriett-Brown dropped the pass from Sam Pollard and a chance to open Heaths account went begging. Heath continued to press home their advantage but an injury to Martyn Barnes saw Richard Dance enter the fray. Shortly after Olly Cook was sin-binned for a late tackle and as Heath re-adjusted Salem took advantage and when new signing James Simpson followed up a clever kick and chase he went in for Salems opening try and a conversion from Danny Belcher saw a score of 7-0 after 25 minutes. Heath were struggling to win line out ball but eventually got on the scoreboard when Ezra Hinchliffe converted a penalty after 30 minutes and a score of 7-3 saw Heath back in the game. Heath were picking up injuries and when Sam Pollard had to leave the field Eddie Cartwright came on and Cook put Heath back up to full quota. This seemed to inspire Heath and drives from Paddy KerrMatt Beasty and Olly Cook set up Heaths next attack and after a scum to Heath Ian Downsborough popped up with the ball to score a try which took Heath into the lead 8-7 as half time approached. Kerr was replaced by Chris Moore but as the clock wound down Salems Belcher converted a penalty kick and the home side led 10-8.
The start of the second half was explosive as from the kick off Chris Moore and Salem prop Tom O’Sullivan were dismissed for fighting. This was totally unexpected in a game that was physical but competitive but it was Heath who reacted quicker when Hinchliffe and Harriett-Brown linked well and went close to scoring. Next a huge kick from Cartwright set up Heaths next attack and from a line out won by Fergus Marsden the controlled drive saw Olly Cook get on the score-board for a converted try and a score of 15-10 after 50 minutes. Richard Brown had come on for Richard Dance and he made an immediate impact with some strong running but following a period of scrappy play from both sides Salem re-took the lead with a converted try from nowhere and a lead of 17-15 with 57 minutes gone. Harriett –Brown went on a run from the re-start and Salem gave away a penalty, missed by Hinchliffe. From the restart the ball came to Brown and he was challenged illegally by number 8 Christian Baines and Salem were down to 13 players as he was sent from the field of play with 20 minutes remaining. The resulting penalty to Heath saw Hinchliffe find touch and when Marsden won the ball Hinchliffe and Brown linked to send over Jason Merrie for a try and Heath took the lead 20-17. The next few minutes saw both sides exchange penalties and a score of 23-23 with 10 minutes remaining. Both sides went looking for the winning score as the clock ticked down but when Jack Crabtree attempted drop kick went woefully wide it was left to Ezra Hinchliffe to calmly slot over yet another penalty kick and ensure Heath won 26-23 to set up a quarter final place.
Coach Dave Harrison was pleased with the performances of the new players but disappointed with his side picking up so many injuries. “The lads who came in gave a good account of themselves in a difficult game. To have three players sent off in a game does not look good but perhaps the official could have looked at the sin bin to calm the game down. Now we have to look at returning to Salem next week for the league and picking up vital points before we entertain Brods in the last game of the month”.