Match Report: Saturday 25 November 2017

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 33 vs North Ribblesdale RUFC 12

Sparkling first 20 mins then settles down to a bit of slog.

Heath responded well to two defeats in their last two games and came away with a win as they returned to Yorkshire 1 action against lowly North Ribblesdale.

Jordan Moana was prefered on the bench as coach Dave Harrrison reverted to his usual starting line-up and Heath had the  perfect start to the game when, from the kick off by Heath, the ball was robbed from a hesitant North Ribb player by Jason Merrie who  fed the supporting Alex McFadden and as Jack Crabtree grabbed the ball  his pass to the on-rushing Jordan Bradbrook saw the outside centre sprint over the try line for a try, converted by Ezra Hinchliffe, and a score of 7-0 in the first minute. It was the perfect start and when the ball reached the juggernaut Richard Brown from the re-start the ball found its way to Hinchliffe who put in a massive clearance into open space. Callum Harriet-Brown set off in chase for the ball and managed to kick through to the try-line and touch down a second try for Heath to  lead 12-0 on 3 minutes and the home crowd feared for North Ribblesdale as a rout seemed on the cards.

Ribblesdale needed to react but when a penalty attempt hit the post and rebounded into play it seemed everything was against them as Crabtree picked up the ball and gave it to Seiffe Boussaada who set off on a charge to the half way line. Sam Pollard was in support and his pass to Hinchliffe saw another clever kick which saw Harriet-Brown in another chase before the ball found touch. The line out was won by Ian Downsborough and he released Olly Cook for a charge to the line with the Heath pack in support. Peter Birkett picked up the pace when he fed Crabtree and intricate play released Bradbrook, who off-loaded to Hinchliffe him to score and then convert it for a tally of  19 - 0 with 10 minutes played. It wasn’t until the fifteenth minute that the visitors put in their first real charge  for a  try and Jordan Bradbrook received  a serious shoulder injury which saw him leave the field and be replaced by Si Brown as he attempted to stop a certain try.

From the re-start Brown and Boussaada were prominent in getting the ball up the field to clear the danger and a kick from Crabtree saw Jason Merrie on the charge as Heath  mounted yet another onslaught. With the Heath pack pressing the try line up popped the elusive Peter Birkett for a try on 18 minutes. The conversion from Ezra  Hinchliffe saw the home crowd happy and baying for more of the same with a score of 26-0 on the board. North Ribblesdale were clinging on for some time and managed to put the home defence under pressure and when a try was scored on 33 minutes a score of 26-5 prevented a whitewash which had seemed on the cards. Chris Moore and Ian Downsboroughh were replaced by Chris Piper and Jordan Moana and they were prominent in keeping out the visitors as Heath held out up to the  half time whistle.

To their credit North Ribblesdale opened the second half on the offensive and came up trumps when on 47 minutes with a converted try and a score of 26-12 looked respectable for them. Olly Cook and Seiffe Boussaada made way for the returning Moore and Downsborough as Heath looked to respond. This came about in unusual circumstances as a cross field kick from Crabtree from the half way line saw Si Brown kick the ball back in-field towards the Ribb in-goal area. Sam Pollard chased down a ball that looked to be going dead but his touch down was adjudged to be in play by the referee and a try was awarded, converted by Hinchliffe, and a score of  33-12 with 50 minutes on the clock. There now followed a period of even play as Ribb seemed to settle for preventing further scores and Heath were happy to settle for the bonus point win. With the game winding down both sets of players put in a good stint in an entertaining game and the referee blew for full time.

This was a good performance for seventy per cent of the game from Heath against a team  in the bottom three and with a trip to South Yorkshire next week end to take on Wheatley Hiills they must be clinical again as they build  up for a crack at the league leaders, undefeated York, on December 9th.  

HEATH RUFC MATCH STATISTICS
Tries 5 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 0
Conversions 4 Attendance 200
Click any image to enlarge