Match Report: Saturday 13 December 2014

Reported by Tomorgar
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 17 vs Selby RUFC 7

A good win as conditions deteriorate.

Heath entertained mid table rivals Selby in a game they had to win to ensure they stayed clear of the relegation places and they put in an excellent performance to ensure victory.

Coach Plant gave debuts to new signing Chris Piper at prop and to junior Colt Callum Harriet-Brown, recently selected for Yorkshire, on the wing. On the bench was another new signing from Cleckheaton Ric Depledge with Tom Collinge and Paddy Kerr the other two replacements.
Following an early morning pitch inspection the ground was soft with frosty areas but referee Brian Mulligan had no problems with the surface as he blew his whistle to start the match in front of a sizeable home crowd.

It was the perfect start for Heath when, after 5 minutes, they were awarded a penalty as Selby were caught off side and Ezra Hinchliffe obliged, 3-0. The visitors stormed back, but good covering work from Dom Walsh, Ian Downsborough and Jack Blackhall prevented Selby from penetrating the Heath defence, after the home side had dropped a high ball. Heath came back and Hinchliffe, Gareth Webb and Harriet-Brown linked well before a second phase attack from Heath bombarded the visitors’ line and up popped Jacob Storey to score his first try for Heath in only his third start for the team. Hinchliffe converted from the touchline and Heath looked comfortable at 10-0 after 15 minutes.

Selby tried hard to break down the Heath defence but the home side pack, led by man of the match captain Mark Puttick, stood firm with new boy Piper making a significant contribution. Heath were now playing with passion and commitment and Selby became frustrated giving away penalties, Hinchliffe missing with one of them. Undeterred, the home side were putting on an excellent first half performance with the pack dominant and backs linking well it – so it was a happy home crowd as the half time whistle blew.

Another second penalty attempt from Hinchliffe went astray of the posts after 43 minutes at the start of the second half and this boosted Selby into action and they managed to get a converted try on 48 minutes to pull the score back to 10-7. Heath responded and Si Brown released Harriet-Brown for a run as conditions deteriorated following a heavy downpour. Darren Neilly and Downsborough linked well to release Rob Thackray as Heath bombarded the visitors defence but a third penalty miss prevented any further score.

Oliver Wilby was replaced by Ric Depledge after 55 minutes and he was quickly into action winning line out ball to set up a surge from the pack. From the resulting scrum, Ian Downsborough picked the ball up for a try on 60 minutes, converted by Hinchliffe and Heath were 17-7 in front.

Selby were not defeated yet and stormed the Heath try line, but Piper and Alex McFadden were dominant and with the second row of Neilly and Olly Cook there was never going to be a way through for the visitors. Wilby and Paddy Kerr came on, following injuries to Jack Blackhall and Mark Puttick, as Heath wound the clock down for victory and a well deserved, but hard earned, 4 points to finish 2014 on a high.

Heath now take a welcome break from league action but will no doubt be relishing their first game in 2015 when they visit high flying Malton and Norton on January 3rd.

Finally - Ian Rushworth from the Hx Courier came and watched the game. Read his Report at: http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/sport/more-sport/heath-forwards-answer-critics-1-7003554

HEATH RUFC MATCH STATISTICS
Tries 2 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 1
Conversions 2 Attendance 200
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