Match Report: Saturday 22 November 2014

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 11 vs Pontefract RUFC 10

Tight!

Heath kicked off, buoyed by three wins out of their last four outings. Conditions were glorious. They then got straight into their rhythm and despite missing a penalty after 3 minutes were still on the attack, playing with confidence and slick passing between Sam Pollard, Cameron Ramsden and Ezra Hinchliffe.

Hamish Pratt took a quick penalty and set up Jack Blackhall and Pollard as Heath built another attack on 12 mins. Following up a high kick from Dominic Walsh, Pollard was tackled off the ball and Pontefract incurred their first sin-binning of the match. Heath put the ball in touch and won the lineout but their rolling maul was halted, on 15 mins. It was all Heath at this stage so it was no surprise when Pontefract gave away another penalty on 19 mins which Hinchliffe converted: 3 – 0.

Soon afterwards, Pratt won good lineout ball, Walsh released Ian Downsborough on a barn-storming run and Pratt was on hand to finish the move with a powerful burst to the try line. The conversion was missed but Heath were in the lead: 8 – 0 on 23 mins.

Pontefract began to claw their way back into the game but Pollard proved strong at fullback and dealt with several high balls, returning them with interest by running from depth or kicking far into the opposition half. However, Pontefract persevered and were rewarded with a try in the corner. It was not converted: 8 – 5 on 32 mins. The visitors kept up the pressure and scored another (unconverted) try in the corner on 36 mins: 8 – 10.

Heath were no longer playing flowing rugby and were making too many mistakes as the interval came. This was a disappointing end to the half after a promising start. Darren Neilly came on for Jack Blackhall who had had a solid first half.

Heath began the second half somewhat tentatively although Gareth Webb went close and Neilly made an impact. A penalty on 53 mins summed up Heath’s day when the ball hit the upright and bounced back into play, much to Pontefract’s relief. An ankle injury to Pollard brought Matt Cook into the fray.

Heath tried hard to break through with Si Brown and Rob Thackray linking well. Then a superb kick into space across the field by Matt Cook set up another attack on 62 mins but momentum was lost with an ankle injury to Olly Collinge and that brought Blackhall back on to the field. From a penalty on 63 mins, Hinchliffe missed a relatively easy chance.

After an altercation involving Will Sellars the game livened up and Pontefract began giving away penalties again. On 68 mins, one of their players was yellow-carded and this time Hinchliffe was able to put his side in front: 11 – 10. This was followed by a period of even play as both sides tried to hold on to what they had got or score points to take or increase the lead.

In the end, Heath managed to hold on for a win as the clock wound down. The four points helped to consolidate their position near the middle of this very tight league.

HEATH RUFC MATCH STATISTICS
Tries 1 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 2
Conversions 0 Attendance 125
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