Last second drop brings the Win for Beverley.
YORKSHIRE 1 HEATH 18 BEVERLEY 19
It was a case of déjà vu for Heath as Beverley snatched victory with a drop kick attempt which went over the bar and enabled the visitors to North Dean to snatch the win which secures second spot in Yorkshire 1 with the last play of a thrilling encounter. When the two teams met in November Heath led with seconds remaining but Beverley, who were defending their try line, broke free and ran the full length of the field to turn defeat into victory and yesterday they inflicted the same on a Heath team who had battled throughout to try and secure the win to keep pressure at the top of the league but were denied.
After a torrential overnight downpour the Heath pitch was passed playable and as both teams entered the arena it became obvious that the game would be a battle to overcome the conditions. Heath welcomed their latest signing Lee Brown, younger brother of assistant coach Richard, into the second row as a replacement for Seiffe Boussaada, out for the season injured, and he was quickly into action as Heath mounted an onslaught and their reward was a penalty conversion from Ezra Hinchliffe and Heath led 3-0 after 3 minutes. Alex McFadden was next to steal the ball as the visitors struggled to come to terms with the conditions and when Chris Piper and Matt Beasty went forwards with purpose Heath had quickly got into their stride. However, Beverley settled and were rewarded with a penalty conversion to draw the scores level 3-3 with 10 minutes on the clock. Heaths response was immediate and when the Brown brothers linked up the ball came out to Jack Crabtree and his superb clever cross field kick was latched onto by Jordan Bradbrook and the centre went over for an unconverted try but a lead of 8-3 was just reward for Heath with 15 minutes on the clock. Beverley came back strong and a charge down clearancel saw a race to the Heath try line but thankfully Eddie Cartwright covered the field like a gazelle and kicked the ball dead before the visitors could pounce. However, the resulting scrum saw Beverley pounce and centre Will Turnbull scored a converted try and the visitors led 10-8 with a quarter of the game played. The game now ebbed and flowed as both teams went at each other looking for a breakthrough. Heaths scrum was beginning to take control and Olly Cook came on for Matt Beasty after 30 minutes to add extra power. However, with Heath pressing, they were reduced to 14 players on 35 minutes when Jason Merrie was sin binned for a late tackle and Beverley took control as they went in search of a score and managed to extend their lead with a penalty just before half time to lead 13-8.
Beverley re-started the second half with a swift counter attack which took Heath by surprise but the home side held out and settled back into the battle. Merrie came back into the play and this seemed to inspire Heath. Peter Birkett was working hard, as always, to release players and a slick kick to space saw Merrie and Callum Harriett-Brown chase the ball down but Beverley held out. The visitors were now under the cosh and when coach Dave Harrison re-organised his back line with Jack Crabtree making way for Si Brown on the wing with Ezra Hinchliffe moving to stand off and Cameron Ramsden moving to centre. Heath continued to batter the Beverley defence, who were really struggling to come to terms with the onslaught, and it came as no surprise to the home supporters to see the Heath pack in total control as they drove towards the try line and Richard Brown scored a second try converted by Hinchliffe and Heath led 15-13 just before the hour mark. Beverley managed to re-group and the game became a muddy midfield battle as both sets of players would not relent giving their all. Penalties were awarded for both sides and from one Beverely regained the lead 16-15 with 10 minutes remaining. Heath response was immediate and they started to batter the visitors defence and when Heath were awarded a penalty with 2 minutes left on the clock a cool Ezra Hinchliffe converted the kick and the game swung to Heaths favour 18-16. However, their was a sting in the tail for Heath as Beverley went in search of that vital score. The visitors once again kept their nerve by holding onto the ball and going through the phases as they worked the ball forwards and with the posts in sight a drop kick was successful and they snatched a vital win as the referee blew for full time.
The game had been tense throughout and credit must go to both sides for playing to such a high standard in atrocious conditions. Heath must now re-group and prepare for their next game, a local derby at Old Rishworthians whilst Beverley will be looking to maintain form as they entertain Old Brodleians but the league is far from over and there is still a great deal to play for and it will no doubt go down to the wire before anything is confirmed.