Match Report: Saturday 7 March 2015

Reported by Thomas Stanley Walton
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 12 vs Bridlington RUFC 15

15 v 14 result = 12 v 15.

Heath welcomed east coast rivals Bridlington to North Dean, searching for an elusive win, which would steer them clear of the relegation places and ensure Yorkshire 1 status next year, but could not break down a resolute defence - who played for sixty minutes with fourteen players. After the derby, last week, coach Plant made several changes as Dave Montgomery and Gareth Webb started in a new centre partnership and Ryan Hunter took his place in the second row at the expense of Darren Neilly. Rondene Johnson also took a berth on the bench along with Matt Cook and Gareth Owen.

In glorious spring conditions the ground was perfect for fast open rugby and Heath looked to have made the perfect start after 2 minutes when Hunter won the line out and Alex McFadden received the ball to surge for the line, only to be brought down a few metres short. Heath continued to attack and Bridlington were struggling to come to terms with this. Dave Montgomery was next to cut through the visitors defence but the move fell away.

Matt Cook came on for the injured Jacob Storey and was quickly into the pace of the game and was involved in the breakthrough Heath deserved, on 15 minutes. Hamish Pratt intercepted a line out and gave the ball to Mark Puttick. Dom Walsh took over to release Ian Downsborough who fed Montgomery and his pass to Gareth Webb split the Brid defence and Heath opened their account with a try under the posts. A simple conversion, for Ezra Hinchliffe, saw Heath take a 7-0 lead.

Bridlington stormed back but in an altercation near the Heath 22 they had a player sent off for striking Cameron Ramsden who had to receive lengthy attention for a facial injury. With fourteen players, the visitors had to re-group but the Heath faithful were now hoping that the man advantage would help their cause. Brid continued to press for a score and Si Brown was sin binned for dropping a maul. Constant pressure eventually proved fruitful and Bridlington levelled the score on 25 minutes, following good work down the wing. Back came Heath and when Pratt released Hinchliffe his jinking run fed Rondene Johnson, just on for Chris Piper, but the pass did not go to hand and a try was missed. The game was becoming tense as Brid clung on and half time came with no further score.

Piper returned to the fray at the start of the second half, replacing McFadden, but Heath had the worst possible start when Bridlington kicked long to re-start the game and, as Walsh tried to clear, his kick was charged down and the visitors scored an unconverted try to lead 12-7 on 43 minutes.

Heath quickly responded with a flowing move but with everyone in attack Brid had no option but to kick downfield and this tactic nearly paid off as Olly Cook and Cameron Ramsden just managed to get the ball clear. In an end to end game Si Brown eventually scored in the corner on 59 minutes to once again level the scores 12-12 and a quarter of the match remaining.

Tensions continued to build and penalty attempts from both sides were missed before Bridlington managed to convert one on 70 minutes to ease ahead 15-12.

Despite the continued efforts of the home side to find a way through the visitors defence time ran out and Bridlington were elated with the win which left Heath deflated.

The result and other results meant that Heath dropped two places to just above the bottom two, Wath on Dearne and Pontefract, and with four games remaining it leaves the supporters and players on tenterhooks with a vital away game to Ponty in two weeks.

HEATH RUFC MATCH STATISTICS
Tries 3 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 0
Conversions 1 Attendance 100
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