Good score line and a couple of hat-tricks!
Heath 2nd xv made the short journey to take on their Old Rishworthians counterparts in a friendly fixture played on a cool afternoon on a heavy pitch.
Heath started well and took the lead after 3 minutes only. They were awarded a penalty which was kicked to the corner. However, they lost the lineout which led to a defending scrum 5 metres from the line. The ball came out of the back of the Rish scrum and scrum half, Dom WALSH, swooped on the ball, picked it up and scored some 15 metres from the corner. The try was converted by Mick GLEESON. 7 0.
After 17 minutes, centre Ben LITTLEWOOD went off due to a shoulder injury. He was replaced by young COOKIE who went on the wing with Cameron RAMSDEN moving inside to centre.
After 18 minutes, Heath should have increased their lead when the forwards drove the ball in on a few occasions before it was passed all along the backline but, unfortunately, the ball went to ground.
Ben LITTLEWOOD returned and COOKIE returned to the sidelines.
After 20 minutes, Heath did increase their lead when Mick GLEESON made an interception in the Rish half. He made ground before passing to Ben LITTLEWOOD who threw out a perfectly weighted pass to flanker, Ed MORAINE, who scored near the corner flag. The conversion was unsuccessful.
After 28 minutes, once more, Heath should have added to their tally. The ball was passed along the line but an overlap was ignored and the ball carrier was tackled just short of the line. They were awarded a penalty in the Rish 22 and after a quick tap, the ball was knocked forwards.
After 30 minutes, Heath were pressing on the Rish line and after a number of forward drives, scrum half, Dom WALSH, went blind where he found Ed MORAINE who took the pass and scored some 15 metres in from touch. Mick GLEESON converted. 19 0.
Although Heath went into half time with a comfortable lead, it was a half which contained errors and the taking of wrong options was evident on a number of occasions. Heath spurned 3 definite clear-cut chances to score which would have taken them out of sight by the interval.
At half time, winger Richard ARMSTRONG and centre Andy WHITE were replaced by Michael DODD and young COOKIE who went onto the wings with Cameron RAMSDEN moving inside to centre.
After 46 minutes, Rishes had pressure and used the ball well to gain ground through the forwards. They were awarded a penalty some 8 metres out and it was run in and a try was scored to the side of the posts. This was converted. 19 7. Ben LITTLEWOOD then left the field to be replaced by Kofi BROBBEY.
This did seem to wake up the Heath side who were looking lethargic at this point and after 53 minutes, the ball was moved upfield at speed and flanker, Steve RICHARDSON made a good run before being tackled just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and passed to the right where hooker, Gareth OWEN, scored a try near the corner. Mick GLEESON missed the conversion. 24 7
After 58 minutes, the ball was again taken forward with purpose and number 8, Emlyn JAMES, ran well with it before passing outside to Ed MORANE who scored his hat trick try. The conversion was missed. 29 7
After 63 minutes, Heath scored the best try of the day. From a Rish scrum inside the Heath half, Dom WALSH stole the ball at the rear and fired out an excellent reverse pass which found Mick GLEESON who took it well before handing on to Kofi BROBBEY who ran, OFFIAH-like, leaving a number of defenders in his wake before scoring between the posts. The try was converted by Mick GLEESON. 36 7.
After 68 minutes, Heath pressed home their advantage when Dom WALSH took a quick tap penalty and passed to right winger, Michael DODD, who ran well back towards his support before passing to Kofi BROBBEY who was tackled. However, the referee, Shaughn BEVAN, penalised the hosts and after another quick tap, the ball came to Mick GLEESON who cut back inside the cover to score a try which he converted himself. 43 7
After 75 minutes, Heath increased their lead with an excellent solo try from Mick GLEESON. He received the ball some 40 metres out and just ghosted past the defence before scoring under the posts. He converted the try himself. 50 -7
After 79 minutes, Mick GLEESON did it again!! He took the ball with a number of defenders in front but he used his speed and skill to score another very good individual try. The conversion was missed. 55 7.
Full time: Old Rishworthians 2nds 7 v 55 Heath 2nds
For 50 minutes, Heath performed at a level which was sufficient to win the game only. However, in the last 30 minutes, they got back to playing as they have been doing for the last few weeks now, which was good to see. They will have to perform at this level for 80 minutes next week when they have a difficult trip to North Ribblesdale.
Man of the Match awards go to Mr Versatile himself, Tom COLLINGE, who had a very good game at full back both in attack and defence and flanker, Steve RICHARDSON, who had a very effective game in the loose and was unlucky not to score in the second half when he was hauled down just short of the line.
One very pleasing aspect of the game was the fact that both Ed MORAINE and Mick GLEESON scored hat tricks which led to the purchase of 2 jugs of ale for the rest of the players. Thank you to these 2. Lets hope for a few more in future. - - - -Dom, you aint got away with it from last week!! I wont forget.