All things equal in very entertaining game
1. Kerr 6. Wilby 11 Wilkinson
2. Whitworth 7. Dawes 12 Webb
3. Morley 8. Puttick 13 Bruce
4. James 9. Cole 14 Beever
5. Milner 10 Reynolds 15 Baxendale
Subs: Nicholson, Szadby, Burbidge, Storey
Heath welcomed improving Moortown, fresh from an impressive win over leaders West Leeds the previous week, to West Vale. Captain Cole had already impressed on the team the previous week that they would have to move up several gears, in what would prove to be a tough test.
Heath kicked off and were immediately on the attack via a kick through from Webb, Bruce was unlucky to just lose out in the chase and the opposing fullback touched down for a 22 drop out and then Heath conceded a penalty for a high tackle by Wilkinson. Moortowns forward piled forward and Heath did well to defend their line, with the impressive Puttick at the fore.
Moortown’s backs next had a run, finding space out wide, but the final pass was knocked on over the line when a try seemed certain.
Kicks were traded, and Baxendale tried to attack after collecting another punt forward, his final pass was marginally forward, and the threat was gone.
Heath were soon defending again after a 5m lineout from a further penalty, the pack held strong and pushed the maul into touch. Bruce and Wilkinson then combined to thwart another running move through the back line, winning a lineout, which allowed Cole to setup a great flowing move along the back line. Passes were interchanged between Bruce and Beever, who then released Baxendale on his inside for a Try wide, against the previous 10 minutes balance of play. Cole missed the difficult chance 5-0.
Heath were then gifted a scrum from the restart after the ball sailed straight out, and Cole made space after executing a great dummy, but the backs failed to collect his pass and knocked on. James then overturned possession at a lineout and won a penalty but once again were unable to capitalise on field position when the resulting lineout was deemed not straight. Moortown were then reduced to 14 men after the official deemed an attempted interception a deliberate knock on. Heath took immediate advantage with another great move in the back line, Bruce, Webb and Baxendale combined to release Puttick who crashed through the covering tackles to dive over and touch down one handed. Cole this time added the extras 12-0
With minutes to go until the break Heath were keen to keep the 12-point advantage, especially with the extra man, but Moortown had other ideas, a scenario which would repeat itself in the 2nd period, and they crossed for an unconverted try with a move along the backs.
The official blew for HT, this was still a very close game
Half Time 12- 5
No changes were made during the break and Moortown restarted the game, and pressed again, Cole cleared the pressure with a hurried kick to the 22. Baxendale then made space up the right wing and was cleared out after kicking through, and another opponent was shown the yellow card. Heath restarted with a scrum when the kick had landed, the drive and several recycles were repelled and when Cole chose to spread the ball wide it was lost forward in contact. Whitworth was replaced by Nicholson and Moortown were restored to 14 men.
Heath took advantage of a penalty 10 metres out, setting up a 5m lineout, with the ball secured, James drove round the side of the maul to score. No extras were added 17-5
Baxendale was replaced by Storey
Heath attacked again with Wilby chasing a kick through only to see the ball hacked clear but only to Moortowns 22. Moortown saw yellow again for another perceived professional foul. This seemed to affect Heath more than their opponents, and poor tackling in the backs allowed Moortown to cross under the posts allowing the extras to be easily taken 17-12
Wilby then saw yellow, for team consecutive offences and Moortown were again returned to 14 men. Almost straight away Moortown crossed again and the scores were level.
Moortown were looking the stronger and the crowd feared a defeat was on the cards.
James was replaced by Szadby and Kerr replaced by Whitworth
Heaths forwards were called into action again when a drive had to be held up over the line and then they won a penalty from the scrum. Moortown secured great ball at the lineout and attacked again, seeming to run straight through the middle of the Heath line and score under the posts again, with the conversion taken they were ahead 17-24.
Could Heath come back in the final 10, Cole took up the challenge kicking to the 10 m line and Moortown infringed giving a scrum to Heath. The ball was secured but the drive held, working the ball inside, Bruce ran a great diagonal line and crashed over for another try (securing a bonus point in the process) and the pressure was on Cole to draw Heath level. Slotting over Heath returned to full strength as did Moortown. With less than 5 to go, the ball was cleared to half way for the lineout. Heath then gifted another chance to Moortown through a penalty but Wilby stole the lineout before Dawes, showing great hands collected the loose ball and piled forward joined by Morley and Milner. With the ball punted forward, Moortown forced another penalty around 10 metres from the Heath line, with final play called, it was turned over again and Cole looked to the line and kicked for the draw.
A thoroughly entertaining game against an impressive and well organised Moortown team. Every Heath team member put in a shift and the improvement in energy from the previous week was noticeable. With Keighley away next week, who inflicted Heaths only home defeat on them, on their 3G pitch, continued focus in training and fitness will reap benefits. With the points from the draw, Heath also consolidated their 2nd place in the league