Match Report: Saturday 28 February 2015

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Old Brodleians RUFC 33 vs Heath RUFC 18


Heath travelled to Woodhead for this local derby looking to secure a double over their rivals and vital league points in their quest to maintain Yorkshire 1 league status.

The Heath backs were reshuffled to accommodate Eddie Cartwright at full back, Jacob Storey on the wing and Cameron Ramsden at centre. Alex Crust made a welcome return in the scrum for injured Fergus Marsden and on the bench the versatile Steven Hare came back from University along with Gareth Webb and Rob Depledge for a strong looking bench.

It was the perfect start for Heath, playing down the slope when Ezra Hinchliffe converted a penalty on 2 minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Alex Cust and Eddie Cartwright were busy setting up the next phase of play as Brods struggled to contain the visitors and, when Hamish Pratt was taken out in a line out, Hinchliffe added a second penalty on 8 minutes for Heath to lead 6-0 - much to the delight of a strong Heath contingent of supporters.

Brods managed to re-group and in their first foray into the Heath 22, with Mark Puttick sprawled out, after an altercation in a tackle, and Heath defence all over the place, the home side were awarded a penalty to reduce the arrears to 6-3 on 15 minutes.

Steven Hare came on for Alex McFadden as Coach Kevin Plant looked to stifle the Brods play. Heath did weather the storm and Jacob Storey was brilliant in firstly catching a high ball, then kicking for position and then chasing down the dropped ball from Brods full back and scoring a try in the corner to extend the visitors lead to 11- 3 after 23 minutes.

Then followed a long delay due to an injury to one of the Brods players and from the re-start Brods were awarded a penalty 11- 6. Back stormed Heath and Darren Neilly and Ian Downsborough linked well as they put Brods under the cosh. The home side were struggling to cope with the Heath onslaught and after a number of infringements the referee had no option but to award a penalty try to Heath 18- 6 as half time approached.

The final minutes of the half saw both sides put their bodies on the line and with several players in prone positions Darren Neilly made a break with Storey in support, only a last ditched tackle from Brods prevented another Heath score.

With Heath having the slope and a strong wind blowing down the pitch the score line was perhaps not enough for the visitors to defend and Brods looked confident as they turned around.

From the start of the second half it was obvious the home sides’ intentions of playing the kicking game as the kick off went dead. From the scrum Heath went on the attack in the first few minutes but Brods intentions were clear as they continued to kick the ball downfield whenever they were under the cosh, setting up a number of opportunities and it came as no surprise when they scored an unconverted try after 48 minutes - to reduce the deficit to 11 - 18 before adding a second try on 55 minutes to close the gap to 18-16.

Heath brought on Alex McFadden and Gareth Webb for Olly Cook and Jacob Storey but these changes could not stem the flow and a third try was scored on 63 minutes for Brods to take the lead for the first time 21-18. Heath were giving away too many penalties and making too many mistakes and Brods added two further tries on 68 and 73 minutes for the home side to run out winners 33-18.

A game of two halves and one that saw Brods play the conditions and pitch to their obvious advantage - scoring 27 unanswered second half points to clinch a vital five league points and move to within one point of Heath.

Next week’s home game with Bridlington, before a visit to bottom club Pontefract are now games that Heath should target as victories to finally stave off the threat of relegation and hopefully the players will finally give the die- hard supporters something for them to cheer about.

Finally, Ian Rushworth covered the game for the Halifax Courier - read his Report at:

Tries 2 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 2
Conversions 1 Attendance 300
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