Tense, great game of rugby. Heath forwards well on top.
North Dean was packed to the rafters to watch the eagerly anticipated game of the day involving third place Heath against high flying Scarborough who were holding on to second spot in the league four points ahead of the home side but having played one game more. With several players missing due to work and holiday commitments Heath drafted in the influential Richard Brown, who had recovered from injury, and brother Lee into the second row to bolster the pack. The back row remained the same with the eternal Si Brown keeping his place on the wing after several good performances. On the bench was Martin Barnes, Michael Reynolds and the evergreen Paddy Kerr.
Scarborough started the game in control as Heath struggled to adjust and it came as no surprise to the large crowd to see centre Tom Ratcliffe evade two tackles to run in the first try of the game. He added the extras and the East coast visitors led 7-0 with 7 minutes on the clock. Heath needed to react and from the re-start Jordan Bradbrook's quick thinking released the supporting Eddie Cartwright and his pass to Jack Crabtree was accurate. Crabtree threw the ball out to Ezra Hinchliffe but unfortunately the pass was judged to be forwards and the move broke down with the try-line beckoning. Heath needed to keep ball and they slowly began to raise their game with their pack beginning to dominate once again. From one scrum Heath drove forwards and as the ball came out to Hinchliffe his clever kick was scooped up by Chris Moore. Moore's drive was supported by Olly Cook who strode for the line which resulted in a converted try and Heath were level 7-7 with 15 minutes gone. Heath were now in control as the visitors struggled to come to terms with the home forwards. An attempted drop kick from Hinchliffe was just wide but it was the home side who were in control and it came as no surprise to see Peter Birkett pop up with the ball and score a second try, converted by Hinchliffe and a lead of 14-7 with a quarter of the game played. Scarborough, to their credit, re- grouped and both sides were in a titanic midfield struggle as they tested each other. On 30 minutes, from an innocuous challenge, full back Eddie Cartwright had to leave the field and so the Heath coaching team had to re-organise the back line with Michael Reynolds coming onto the wing and Cameron Ramsden moving to the vacant full back position. The remainder of the half saw both sides determined to battle but there was no further score as half time arrived.
The start of the second half was very nearly the perfect start for Heath as Ezra Hinchliffe charged down an attempted Scarborough clearance and began a chase for the ball. His run was just short as the visitors defence covered and they managed to clear their lines as a score seemed imminent. The visitors then began to batter the home side defence looking for an opening but Heath were firm and had two penalties awarded in quick succession. Hinchliffes first attempt was just wide but his second on 57 minutes sailed over the bar and a lead of 17-7 seemed comfortable for the home supporters. Heath seemed to switch off and Scarborough took advantage with a try in the corner from Jonty Holloway straight from the re-start. Ratcliffe added a super conversion from the try-line and a score of 17-14 meant Heath were back into the battle with 58 minutes gone. The visitors piled on the pressure and Heath gave away several penalties and from one Ratcliffe converted to pull the scores level 17-17 with 15 minutes remaining.
It was developing into a tense battle as both sides went close but a Heath penalty on 68 minutes saw Hinchliffe's conversion sail over the bar and a lead of 20-17. The last 10 minutes saw Heath under considerable pressure as Scarborough battled to get a score and when the visitors were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes it looked as if the scores would be levelled but Ratcliffe's easy chance was missed, much to the relief of the home supporters. The visitors continued to batter the home defence but Heath were superb with all players putting their bodies on the line and with a massive clearance kick from Hinchliffe Heath looked to have held out but there was another twist before the final whistle. Scarborough came back for a final onslaught and when the referee awarded them a penalty it seemed the game would end in a draw. However, once again Ratcliffe had a horrendous attempt to convert, missing the posts by a long way, and the referee blew for full time.
This was yet another fantastic advert for Yorkshire 1 rugby and shows how the game should be played. Scarborough were a good side and are still in with a shout but Heath were excellent and their pack dominated once again, with their backs also on fire. All games will go down to the wire and with Beverley and Middlesbrough also in the mix it is looking like a fantastic run in to the end of the season as they chase down leaders York.
Finally, Ian Rushworth, from the Hx Courier, was there to watch the game.
Read his Report at:-