Heath score 37 and still lose!
Heath travelled to newly-promoted Yarnbury who have made a good start to life in Yorkshire One. Heath were looking for victory to claw their way out of the relegation zone. Sam Pollard (centre) and Fergus Marsden (lock) made welcome returns from college as Coach Kevin Plant looked for a more disciplined approach to a match where five points might be vital.
In superb, sunny conditions Yarnbury kicked off down the slope. In the opening minutes Heath settled straight into their game plan and put Yarnbury under pressure. From a lineout, Darren Neilly went close before Eddie Cartwright went nearer before being put into touch and relentless pressure eventually had Yarnbury caught offside. Ezra Hinchliffe had a simple conversion: 0 – 3 after mins. This seemed to spur the home side into action and it was Heath’s turn to suffer.
On 14 mins, Craig Heppenstall was sin-binned for an alleged intentional knock-on. This controversial ruling was applied after Yarnbury had touched down for what would have been a try, thus Heath were spared at least 5 points. Yarnbury kicked for touch, after which Hamish Pratt was sin-binned – reducing Heath to 13 men for the 3rd week running. With Yarnbury on the attack and throwing the ball about, eventually Ellis Gomersal had a run to the corner for an unconverted try on 18 mins: 5 – 3.
From the re-start Dom Walsh cleverly evaded a couple of tackles before hoofing the ball into space as Heath looked to run the clock down. However, Yarnbury fielded the ball and broke away but a forward pass prevented a certain score on 22 mins. Two minutes later the home side opened up the Heath defence with a break down the left for Stuart Wilson to go over for a try which was not converted: 10 – 3. A similar try was scored by Jamie Avieson and that was converted to extend the lead to 17 – 3 on 27 mins. Heath’s ‘yellow cards’ both returned to the field but the damage had been done.
Ollie Cook was injured and replaced by Will Sellars on the half hour but Yarnbury earned their bonus point with a 4th (converted) try on 32 mins as Heath’s defence crumbled: 24 - 3. Soon after, Yarnbury’s centre was sin-binned for an alleged intentional knock-on, providing a chance for Heath. Hinchliffe’s precise kick provided a lineout, 5 metres out. Pratt caught the ball, Sellars then Neilly both went close before Pratt regained the ball to score the try. Hinchliffe made no mistake with the ‘extras’ : 24 – 10 on 37 mins and Heath seemed to be back in the game.
Then a series of silly mistakes allowed Yarnbury to score a try out of nothing to increase their lead to 29 – 10. From the re-start, Yarnbury conceded a penalty which Hinchliffe put between the posts for a half-time score of 29 – 13.
At the start of the second half Yarnbury surged forward but Heath held up the ball-carrier when a try was on. However, from the scrum Yarnbury made ground and centre Van Heel broke through the middle and scored a fine try which Ollie Hardaker converted: 36 – 13 after 44 mins.
Undeterred, Heath re-grouped and Kris Garland and Will Sellars linked well before Pollard made a strong run. Heath were now playing well, with conviction and Mark Puttick scored a try which Hinchliffe converted to narrow the scores: 36 – 20 on 50 mins. James Blackhall came on for Garland and Cook returned when Pratt was injured (but he had to come back on when McFadden was injured on 55 mins).
There followed a series of mistakes as play became scrappy but Yarnbury gave away a penalty on 58 mins for Hinchliffe to reduce the deficit to 36 – 23, at which point Heath looked to be in with a shout! Regrettably, against the run of play, Yarnbury swooped on a lost pass and Van Heel scored his second try: 41 – 23 on 62 mins. On 68 mins, Yarnbury’s substitute Gomersall finished off a fine move with a try between the corner flag and the uprights – but there was no conversion: 46 – 23.
On 71 mins, a Yarnbury forward was sin-binned and Heath took advantage. Slick handling across the field enabled Cartwright to score a try wide out, to which Hinchliffe added the conversion: 46 – 30 on 73 mins. Heath were striving for another score but a strong run from Yarnbury’s 2nd Row, Falgate paved the way for Gomersal to score his second try under the posts. This time, Hardaker converted to take Yarnbury over 50 points (53 – 30 on 77 mins).
With time running out a gun-shot was heard! Perhaps it was this that inspired Heath’s final charge which yielded a try for Pratt and conversion by Hinchliffe: 53 – 37.
This free-scoring, entertaining game left Heath’s position in the league unchanged and Yarnbury (with their 100% home record still intact), occupying 3rd place.