Heaths first half lethargy replaced by second half Sparkle!
Heath 2nd XV started the New Year entertaining Halifax 2nd XV at West Vale on a dry but dull afternoon on a soft pitch.
Halifax arrived with 13 players only and Roger HAMMOND and John LYONS agreed to play for the opposition. The game was also played with uncontested scrums due to Halifax being unable to field a front row.
The game got off to a bad start for Heath when, from the kick off, the ball was knocked forwards. From the resulting scrum, Halifax kicked deep and the ball was again knocked forwards by a Heath defender some 5 metres out. From the scrum, the ball was passed to the full back who entered the line and after a poor missed tackle in midfield, he was able to score an unconverted try just at the side of the posts. 0 5 after 2 minutes.
The home side could not settle into any sort of rhythm at all and the game was a scrappy affair. After 14 minutes, from a Halifax line out on halfway, second row and skipper, Emlyn JAMES secured the loose tapped-back ball. The ball was passed to number 8, Jordan MOANA, who ran 45 metres along the touchline before touching down in the corner. Michael DODD missed the conversion. 5 5
The game continued in a similar vein with neither side able to stamp their authority upon it. However, it was the home side who took the lead after 22 minutes with an unconverted try. From a line out in the Halifax 22, the ball was passed out to outside half, Marty MOANA who passed it back inside to his supporting son, Jordan, who strode over the line taking 2 defenders with him. 10 5
After 28 minutes, the scores became level once more when Halifax kicked deep into the Heath 22. Right winger, James WHITWORTH, chased back and picked the ball up just short of the try line. He carried it back into In goal and decided to kick for touch. Unfortunately, he fell onto his posterior and got a toe end only to the ball presenting a Halifax player with the simplest of touchdowns. 10 10.
However, from the resulting kick off, Heath retook the lead. The ball was kicked off and Halifax immediately kicked the ball back to scrum half, Tom COLLINGE, on halfway. He made good ground before finding the supporting Matt DAY who took the ball on before passing to prop, Gareth OWEN, who scored near the corner flag. The conversion was missed. 15 10.
There was no further additions to the scoreboard before referee, Paul HIBBERT, brought the first half to an end.
Half time: Heath 2nd XV 15 v 10 Halifax 2nd XV
This was a very poor half of rugby by the home side who were lethargic throughout after a 4 week break since the last game on 6th December. At half time, a number of changes were made. Hooker Paul SHAW; flanker, Martyn BARNES; second row, Matt DAY and full back, Kyle ADAMSON were replaced by Anthony DARLING; Jack RABY; Nick SZADBY and Matthew BAXENDALE - - - -young Jack, from the Under 17s, making his senior rugby debut.
Heath started to play with more purpose in the second half and after 48 minutes, they extended their lead with a well taken try. From loose play just inside the Heath half, the ball was passed out to Gareth OWEN who took the low pass very well before offloading in one movement to Matthew BAXENDALE. He then beat several defenders on a jinking run which ended in a try in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful. 20 10
Heath now took a firm grip on the game and increased their lead after 55 minutes when Matt BAXENDALE made a good break before chipping over the defence. Although Halifax gained possession, the ball was quickly turned over and the ball was passed out to Marty MOANA who scored near the posts allowing DODDY to get his first conversion of the day. 27 10
After 68 minutes, Heath scored a further unconverted try when the ball was passed to Jordan MOANA on the left. He made good ground showing strength to force his way over near the corner flag. 32 10
Within a couple of minutes, the lead was extended. Marty MOANA made a break before passing outside to James WHITWORTH who set off on an excellent run to the line. He made ground down the touchline before stepping back inside and using his strength to knock off a couple of defenders before placing the ball over the line under the posts. DODDY converted. 39 10
Almost straight from the kick off, the ball was passed along the Heath back line to centre, Ben MATHER, who ran down the touchline before using his strength to score a good try in the corner. The conversion was missed. 44 10
Paul HIBBERT immediately blew for No side .
Final score: Heath 2nd xv 44 v `10 Halifax 2nd xv
After a very poor first half, Heath blew off the cobwebs and upped their game to come out well and truly on top.
Man of the match awards go to number 8, Jordan MOANA, who scored a hat trick of tries and who always posed a threat to the opposition; and, in the backs, Matthew BAXENDALE who made some excellent runs into opposition territory and this appeared to be the catalyst for a vastly improved second half performance by his team mates.