Changed venue - but same result. WIN.
Heath 2nd xv played hosts to their North Ribblesdale counterparts in a game switched from Ribb due to a waterlogged pitch. The game was played on a good pitch under dark, dreary skies.
The visitors started quickly and were dictating play for the first few minutes but the Heath tackling was good. Although Heath came back into the game, the visitors still held the upper hand and were rewarded for their efforts with an unconverted try in the corner. 0 – 5 after 15 minutes.
Heath then increased the tempo in their play and were looking more threatening in attack. After 27 minutes, Heath were awarded a penalty wide out in the Ribb ‘22’. They kicked for touch and, from the ensuing lineout, the ball was taken and driven in by the forwards. It was recycled 3-4 times by the pack before the ball was passed down the backs to centre, Andy WHITE, who took it under pressure but used his strength to hold off the tackle before offloading to Mick GLEESON who then made a dash before passing to the supporting full back, young COOKIE, who was able to score in the corner taking a couple of tacklers with him. The try was well converted by outside half, Mick GLEESON. 7 – 5.
From the restart, Heath got on the front foot again and were soon able to take a foothold in the Ribb half. After 31 minutes, they were awarded a penalty some 28 metres out directly in front of the posts and Mick GLEESON made no mistake. 10 – 5.
On the stroke of half time, Heath extended their lead with a converted try. The ball was not secured by Ribb in their own half and scrum half, Dom WALSH, nipped in and fly hacked it forwards towards the Ribb line. He kicked on with control on a second occasion and it was then a foot chase between Dom, Andy WHITE and 3-4 defenders. WHITEY held Dom back and he was able to nudge the ball over the line before diving on it for a try, converted by Mick GLEESON. 17 – 5
Half time: Heath 17 v 5 North Ribblesdale
Heath started the second half well and were camped on the Ribb line for the first few minutes but, unfortunately, they came away with no addition to their tally. After 48 minutes, winger Richard ARMSTRONG was replaced by Bradley WEATHERHEAD., who made an immediate impact.
Mick GLEESON kicked deep into Ribb territory and the ball was kicked back by the Ribb full back. Hooker Gareth OWEN caught it and made ground before passing outside to Bradley who used his speed to beat 2 defenders on a 40 metres run before passing back inside to number 8, Emlyn JAMES, who carried the ball well before passing to Gareth OWEN who was held up over the line resulting in an attacking 5 metres scrum.
Ribb were able to clear their lines after the scrum but within 2 minutes, the home side had increased their lead. Ribb kicked the ball into the Heath half and it was picked up by Bradley WEATHERHEAD who beat a couple of defenders before passing inside. The ball found its way to Mick GLEESON who went on one of his trademark, mazy runs before scoring an excellent try under the posts which he converted himself. 24 – 5.
Shortly afterwards, young COOKIE and winger, Kofi BROBBEY left the field to be replaced by Josh LISTER and Michael DODD respectively.
Heath continued to hold the upperhand and were well in control now. Barry SYKES then entered the fray replacing Joe COX in the second row. One of the Ribb replacements was then sin binned by referee, Colin MILNER, for backchat but Heath could not make the extra man count to add to their score in his absence.
The light was getting worse by the minute and, after 75 minutes, Heath scored once more. After spending time in the Ribb ‘22’, the defending side were awarded a 5 metres scrum. Although they won it, the ball shot out of the rear and a Ribb player fell down onto it but remained on the ground and the ever-sniping Dom WALSH was able to steal the ball and score a simple try, converted by Mick GLEESON. 31 – 5.
The rain then started and all concerned were happy when the referee brought the game to an end with conditions deteriorating rapidly.
Final score: Heath 31 v 5 North Ribblesdale
Heath made a slow start to this game but once they got into the groove, they played some very good, controlled rugby with some good tries scored and deservedly won the game.
Man of the Match awards go to Nick SZADBY, the open side flanker who took good lineout ball but also showed up well in defence and in attack with some good runs; and, in the backs, centre, Cameron RAMSDEN, who was solid in defence and ran and distributed the ball well in attack.
Although it was disappointing to miss out on a coach trip with the 1st xv to North Ribb, the boys enjoyed an excellent afternoon on home soil before then getting dressed up in their 70’s fancy dress costumes and spending time at the club before heading on town. Hope you had a good night out boys. Well deserved.