2nds just lose out in keenly contested encounter.
1. Whitworth 6. Wilby 11 Hinchcliffe
2. Skinner 7. Dawes 12 Malik
3. Morley 8. Wheelwright 13 Ramsden
4. Owen 9. Cole 14 Brown
5. James 10 Reynolds 15 Saltonstall
Subs: Leonard, Ali, Burbidge, Bruce, Wilkinson
As a precursor to the league encounter between our respective first teams, Heath 2nds took on Old Brods 2nds, who now play in a division higher than us, after promotion last season.
With several players returning, Heath fielded a very strong side and were also watched by a sizeable crowd despite the early kick off.
Heath started brightly, matching their opponents in early exchanges, however Brods organisation in the forwards started to exert pressure on the Heath line. Winning an early penalty for offside, Brods kicked for the 5m lineout. James stole excellently and allowed Cole to clear upfield.
A series of penalties were then exchanged, but Brods then found themselves within 5m. Heath defended well, winning a penalty allowing them to clear. Brods came straight back and from a close scrum, the ball was spread wide for their backs to evade several tackles to score under the posts, allowing the extras to be easily taken. 0-7
Heath came straight back from the restart, from a penalty for not releasing, Morley went on a charge, and then released to Brown, however we were penalised when he became isolated. Heath then gave possession away from a poor lineout and Brods applied more pressure.
The pack regrouped and managed to get the ball through to the impressive Reynolds, who executed a great kick to our opponents 22. Brods secured the ball and broke through again, however an excellent tackle from the covering Saltonstall, forced a knock-on allowing Heath to regroup via a scrum. Cole executed a strong kick allowing the pack to win a scrum which secured quality ball for once, allowing Ramsden to break on a mazy run. Wheelwright recycled and forced another penalty, a quick tap taken to the overlapping Skinner, was unfortunately knocked on in contact. Brods were awarded a penalty, for wheeling, and the chance was gone.
Brods failed to make touch, and Hinchcliffe expertly collected the high ball, and kicked to Brods 22. Another great take by Reynolds from the clearance, won a penalty for a high tackle and Heath were once again pressuring the try line. The ball was spoilt and cleared to the halfway line, Heath seemed to have turned the lineout over but instead a penalty was given. Malik was replaced by Bruce.
With Brods failing to progress from the set piece Heath broke into their half, Leonard drove, supported by Morley and Owen, with the line beckoning. Next it was Cole’s chance to drive for the line, but he was held up and we were given a 5m scrum. Heath secured the ball but the pass wide was just behind Saltonstall and he knocked on. Brods kicked to halfway and Cole punted through for Reynolds and Saltonstall to just lose out in the chase. The ball was cleared into touch and Half time was blown.
Half time 0-7
Ali replaced Dawes
Brods started the 2nd period, with Heath immediately returning the ball deep into the opposition half. Brods were solid in the lineout allowing pressure release, and from an unlucky knock on by Bruce they reset and mounted another break. Wilby managed to kick the ball dead to prevent any score. Brods pack came again and excellent work from the forwards won a scrum, this time it was Brods who wheeled and Cole cleared to the half way mark. From the a knock on at the lineout, Brods broke outwide, but a strong tackle from Hinchcliffe forced the knock on for a scrum. Brods attacked again and from a drive from 5m they were forced into touch, winning a free kick from the restart, Heath then won a penalty for another high tackle. With the penalty failing to reach touch, the ball was returned, winning Brods a penalty. Perhaps realising they were far from comfortable they chose to take the points and moved the score onto 0-10.
Next it was Heaths turn for a period of pressure, kicks from Cole and Brown forced Brods to defend deep in their half. Wilkinson replaced Hinchcliffe to add fresh legs in the backs. Reynolds then found himself in space but was held yards from the try line, the ball was recycled but once again handling let us down and a scrum was conceded. Heath re-grouped and Skinner forced a penalty which again gave Reynolds space, a further penalty was driven and Wheelwright offloaded to Wilkinson but he was pushed into touch by several covering backs. Saltonstall broke wide and Ali, on the charge, knocked on, passing up another chance. With a Brods players receiving a yellow card, hopes were high that Heath might be able to capitalise and draw closer, but Brods held strong in the final moments and the referee blew for time.
This was an excellent performance by Heath against a well drilled team from a higher division. Maybe if the wind had been slightly kinder, Heath could have taken points from some of the penalties, they were also held very close to the line on several occasions