Excellent performance from start to finish.
Heath won the battle of teams currently in second and third places in Yorkshire 1 in an enthralling encounter that had both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats until the final whistle and was yet another game to remember in this vital season for both clubs. Coach Dave Harrison kept faith with the majority of the squad as for previous games with a slight change with Seiffe Boussadda starting in the second row for Fergus Marsden, who took a turn on the bench, alongside Si Brown and Richard Dance and Chris Moore, returning from suspension, in place of the unavailable Paddy Kerr.
In near perfect conditions Heath got off to the perfect start, much to the delight of their large contingent of supporters, when Ian Downsborough won line out ball and Peter Birkett then released Jack Crabtree who in turn sent Jordan Bradbrook on a run from the half way line for a try in the corner, converted by Ezra Hinchliffe and a score of 7-0 inside 2 minutes. This shook Scarborough and was not expected by the home supporters but Heath were obviously out to get an elusive victory at a ground where they had only won once in their last ten visits. Play settled down as both teams tested each other out but when Bradbrook was sin-binned for an intentional knock on in the 13 minute, this spurred the home side into action and they scored after 15 minutes through a try from centre Tom Ratcliffe, who also converted, and the scores were level 7-7.
Heath bounced back with some solid play with Richard Brown and Matt Beasty prominent and when Crabtree released Jason Merrie he sped in for a second try, again converted by Hinchliffe and a score of 14-7 after 20 minutes. Once again both teams were wanting to play good rugby in a tense game and when Bradbrook came back onto the field Heath moved up a notch. Sam Pollard's excellent kick set up a chance for a score and as Scarborough began to make mistakes Hinchliffe, Bradbrook and Pollard linked to release the flying wing Callum Harriett-Brown to score Heaths third try and a score of 19-7 silenced the home crowd. However, from the re-start, Heath gave away a penalty and Scarborough after kicking for touch put tremendous pressure on the visitors defence scoring a try from Billy Parker, converted by Ratcliffe, and they were back in the game 19-14 as half time arrived. A super first half with honours even but Heath holding a five point lead.
Fergus Marsden replaced Siffe Boussadda and the second half began with Scarborough going all out for a score and managed a penalty conversion from Ratcliffe after 44 minutes to reduce the deficit to 19-17. Richard Dance came on for Chris Moore as both sides battled it out in the middle of the park. Scarborough were desperate for a score but Heath held firm defensively and when Jack Crabtree put in a superb run to relieve the pressure in the tackle the home side fly-kicked the ball and were back on the attack. Moore and Boussaada replaced Olly Cook and Matt Beasty after 60 minutes as both teams slugged it out. Scarborough went close on a couple of occasions but the Heath defence was solid with Cartwright, Merrie and Bradbrook preventing certain scores. The home side were becoming frustrated and two quick penalties from Ezra Hinchliffe saw Heath on the attack and with a change of tactics at the line outs it was back to basics for the visitors which eventually paid dividends. With ten minutes remaining Heath were taking control of the game again and a clever reverse kick from Crabtree saw Heath on the attack and with the Scarborough defence crumbling Crabtree released Jordan Bradbrook, who had an outstanding game, ran through a shattered Scarborough defence to score a bonus point try, converted by Hinchliffe, and a score of 26-17 with minutes remaining. However, the home side were not finished and put in a concentrated attack urged on by their supporters but all was in vain as Heath hung on for a vital five points and moved up to second place in the league.
What a game and credit must go out to both sides who never gave up hope of a victory. Coach Dave Harrison was delighted with the outcome. “We played superbly defensively and when we attacked we were clinical. We have now beaten two sides in the top four and next week at fifth place Beverley we must be grounded and put another performance in to keep up the pressure on leaders York who we meet in December”.
Here's a link for S'boro's Report in the Scarborough News.