Match Report: Saturday 13 January 2018

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Moortown RUFC 21 vs Heath RUFC 21



Heath travelled to Leeds to take on promoted side Moortown looking to complete a double over a team that they defeated last September at North Dean, but were fully aware of the threat they posed - after only losing an undefeated record, which began at the end of October, last week at Old Brodleians.


 Moortown were determined to rectify that defeat and went looking for an early opening as they went on the attack from the start of the game and were awarded a penalty on 3 minutes but missed the opportunity to get on the scoreboard. Heath were struggling to come to terms with the pace of the game and the onslaught of the home side paid dividends when they scored in the corner an unconverted try to lead 5-0 with 10 minutes on the clock. Heath's response was immediate and when Eddie Cartwright went on a run he released Callum Harriett-Brown who was halted by the Moortown defence though they had to give away a penalty in the process. Ezra Hinchliffe found touch 15 metres from the home try-line with 15 minutes gone and Heath won ball but it was the home side who managed to overturn the ball and clear.


The visitors were now in control with Ian Downsborough and Chris Moore making yardage before Matt Beasty and Alex McFadden set up the next play and after constant pressure Jordan Bradbrook broke free to score under the posts. Ezra Hinchliffe added the extras and Heath led 7-5 after 18 minutes. From the  re-start Heath went back onto the attack with Jason Merrie and Seiffe Boussaada in the thick of things as the game developed into a real battle and, when Moortown gave away  another penalty, Hinchliffe stepped up to increase the lead to 10-5 with 25 minutes on the clock. Moortown needed to respond and this they did from the re-start putting the visitors defence under immense pressure and when Merrie and Boussaada accidently clashed into each other the game was stopped immediately. The game restarted with a scrum and Heath gave away a penalty which Moortown converted and they were back on track at 10-8 with 30 minutes played. Heath's response was again immediate and a clever kick from Jack Crabtree put pressure on the home side who gave away another penalty. Ezra Hinchliffes attempt was short of the posts but Moortown's clearance was picked up by Peter Birkett and he set up the next charge. Coach Dave  Harrison brought on Chris Piper and Dave Skinner after 35 minutes to replace Olly Cook and Martyn Barnes and Skinner was quickly into his stride as half time came to end a first half of gutsy play from both sides.


The start of the second half saw Jason Merrie start with a strapped leg from the collision in the first half but he could not run properly and so Barnes returned. Moortown began the second half once again on the attack as Heath struggled to  re-group and it  came as no surprise to see them score in the corner to retake the lead 13-10 with 48 minutes on the clock. However, once again, Heath's response was immediate as, from the restart, they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Hinchliffe converted to draw the scores level, 13-13 and all to play for. Cameron Ramsden came into the game as Jordan Bradbrook succumbed to an earlier shoulder injury and had to leave the field.


Moortown once again took advantage as Heath re-grouped and were awarded a penalty on 55 minutes to take the lead again 16-13. The game was developing into a real battlefield as players went head to head to try and gain the upper hand and when Heath were awarded another penalty Hinchliffe was cool enough to slot the ball over to draw the scores level 16-16 on the hour mark. Olly Cook returned to the field as Chris Piper exited and Heath began to mount pressure onto the home defence. Excellent work from Alex McFadden released Boussaada who went on a run for the Moortown try-line but he ran out of steam and released the ball to the supporting Callum Harriett-Brown who was bundled into touch as the try line was in sight. Moortown were defending well and breaking quickly as the game ebbed and flowed and with the clock winding down the home side snatched a try with 4 minutes remaining to lead 21-16 and seemingly had won the game. However, Heath would not lie down and went looking for a score of their own. With the visitors on the attack Moortown had a player sin-binned and from the penalty Hinchliffe found touch for a lineout 10 metres from the home try-line which would be the last play of the game. Boussaada managed to win the ball and the whole of the Heath team were involved in a rolling maul to get him over the line for that elusive try which was awarded by the referee and the scores were level, 21-21. Hinchliffe had the opportunity to snatch a win but his conversion was inches wide and both teams had to settle for a draw which was probably the best for both sides.


A game which developed into a battle and the points meant that Heath remained in third spot behind York and Beverley who jumped up two places to  replace Scarborough who dropped to fourth.


Tries 2 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 3
Conversions 1 Attendance 150
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