Match Report: Saturday 24 March 2018

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: North Ribblesdale RUFC 5 vs Heath RUFC 59


Heath travelled to the picturesque ground of North Ribblesdale, set in the rolling hills of the  Yorkshire Dales, to take on a  team who had beaten them in their previous five visits but were struggling for form and were sitting in the relegation places - but with Heath looking to maintain the pressure at the top end of the league and going for a win. Richard Brown and Chris Piper were out injured and Callum Harriett-Brown was away on holiday so coach Dave Harrison re-shuffled his side bringing in Dave Skinner and Martyn Barnes into the pack and Si Brown onto the wing. Jack Crabtree was also re-called to stand off with Ezra Hinchliffe, who passed a fitness test on Thursday evening, reverting to inside centre. On the bench was Mark Puttick, Michael Reynolds and the evergreen and very tanned Paddy Kerr. Weather conditions were perfect for the game with the pitch, if it was to be  described as a Victoria sponge cake, slightly under-baked and a little soft in places. 

Heath came out of the blocks like a steam train and were attacking a frail North Ribb side who were struggling to adjust to the pace of the game. Chris Moore and Peter Birkett were prominent and then Cameron Ramsden and Jordan Bradbrook were ferocious in tackles as the home side became encamped in their own 22. An early penalty attempt from Ezra Hinchliffe was just wide of the posts  but  Heath were relentless as they sought to open  their account. Jack Crabtree and Jordan Bradbrook linked well to release Si Brown but he was held just short of the try-line as Ribb battled to hold out. A series of scrums for Heath saw Ian Downsborough and Dave Skinner drive forwards before the inevitable try which came from Jordan Bradbrook who received a slick pass from Peter Birkett. Bradbrook's outstretched arm saw the centre open Heaths account and with Hinchliffe adding the extras the visitors led 7-0 after 17 minutes. Heath were now in control and went back on the attack with Jason Merrie and Cameron Ramsden next to show. Heath controlled the scrums and when Downsborough released Merrie he danced his way over the line for a second try. Hinchliffe added the extras and Heath led 14-0 after 23 minutes. From the re-start Heath scored a third try which is probably the best of the season so far. Eddie Cartwright caught the ball in his own 22 and released Cameron Ramsden who linked well with Peter Birkett. Cartwright was in support and received the ball before scything through a frail Ribb defence to go under the posts. With the extras from Hinchliffe Heath were in control 21-0 after 25 minutes. Again from the re-start Heath received the ball and this came out to Jordan Bradbrook who waltzed his way over the line to score a bonus point fourth try on 27 minutes and a score of 28-0 as Hinchliffe kicked the conversion. It was becoming a little embarrassing for the home side but to their credit they responded and re-grouped and managed to get on the scoreboard after sustained pressure they went over for an unconverted try in the corner, 28-5 with 32minutes played. Paddy Kerr and Mark Puttick came on for Olly Cook and Martyn Barnes who had put in an excellent stint. North Ribb kept up the pressure but Heath held firm and when Jason Merrie stole a ball he ran the full length of the field to score under the posts and a score of 35-5 to Heath at half time showed the dominance of the visiting side.

North Ribb began the second half once again on the back foot as Ezra Hinchliffe collected the ball and kicked through. The chase was on but the home side covered and the danger was cleared. Ribb settled into the game and a period of even play saw Ribb break but Eddie Cartwright saved the day with a superb covering tackle. Peter Birkett received a knock and was replaced by Michael Reynolds and he was quickly into the action releasing Matt Beasty who charged for the line. Ribb covered but it was only a matter of time as Heath battered the try-line and with the backs dominating Si Brown finished a super move to score in the corner and a lead of 40-5 with 55 minutes gone. There was no stopping Heath and when Ian Downsborough won good line out ball the on-rushing Jordan Bradbrook slalomed his way through a hapless home defence to complete a hat trick of tries. The conversion was added by Hinchliffe and Heath led 47-5 on the hour mark. Chris Moore made way for Olly Cook and Martyn Barnes came on for Jason Merrie but his stint on the bench was short lived as Paddy Kerr retired and Merrie joined back into the game. Heath were in full control and with both centres, Hinchliffe and Bradbrook, outstanding as they drove forwards Ribb were in disarray. From a scrum Dave Skinner popped up for an unconverted try on 73 minutes, 52-5, it was left to Cook, Alex McFadden and Mark Puttick to drive forwards to enable Jason Merrie to complete his hat trick try, converted by Hinchliffe and a final score of 59-5.

The result means that Heath move up to third spot in the league following Scarboroughs win at Beverly which moved Bev down to fourth and Scarborough to second. Next week its third v second at North Dean which is a vital game for both sides as the battle for promotion hots up.


Tries 9 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 0
Conversions 7 Attendance 200
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