Brods slope in ......
Heath made the short journey across town to take on local rivals Old Brodleians in a derby game through which they were hoping to extend their winning run to four games.
Influential Ian Downsborough was missing due to work commitments so in came Fergus Marsden in an otherwise unchanged squad. On the bench were Olly Cooke, Rondene Johnson and Mark Sales.
After a week of torrential rain, wind overnight and snow, the Brods’ pitch looked in remarkably good condition with the sun shining but a bitterly cold wind was blowing down the slope which could have been a big advantage.
Heath kicked off downhill and took early residence in the Brods’ half. Alex McFadden and Chris Piper were prominent with Dom Walsh putting in some probing kicks. On 10 mins, the first altercation took place off the ball and Heath were given the scrum. Then Josh White and Ezra Hinchliffe gained yardage as Heath pressed forward. Brods tried intimidating and gave away a number of penalties, Hinchliffe just missing one on 25 mins.
Callum Harriett-Brown, Hinchliffe and Peter Birkett linked well to release Matt Baxendale as Heath looked for an opening on 28 mins. On 32 mins, it was Brods’ turn for an attack but Heath put up a sterling defence. Almost 10 mins of pressure was soaked up before the referee awarded a penalty and Hinchliffe was able to clear to the half way line. Constant pressure from the Brods ensued but Heath were determined to hold out until half time, which duly arrived: 0 – 0. It had been a hard-fought 40 mins.
After half time, Rondene Johnson came on followed by Olly Cooke for Josh White & Alistair Gordon. An early opportunity came for Heath when Brods were caught offside and Hinchliffe converted the penalty: 0 – 3 on 42 mins. Thereafter, Brods employed the kicking game, to which they are accustomed on their own ground, aiming for the ‘bottom corner’. They gained a try from a rolling maul on 50 mins but it was not converted: 5 - 3.
Heath were now under pressure. Brods were denied what looked like a try on 58 mins after the referee decided the ball had been dropped and they missed another score four minutes later with a knock-on. It was all Brods pressure on Heath now as they changed tactics to throwing the ball about. A great cover tackle from Birkett prevented a certain try on 65 minutes. Then from a lineout Brods looked to have scored another try but the referee ruled that out too.
On 68 mins Sales and White came on for Piper and Jack Crabtree. The constant pressure continued and Brods were rewarded with a try in the bottom corner to lead 10 – 3. Cook went off and Piper returned. Brods continued the onslaught but missed a penalty on 70 mins. Cook and Crabtree came back on with Mark Puttick and Ben Hinsley going off.
Heath’s defence had gone and Brods slipped in for a third try on 79 mins to finish with a 15 – 3 lead and deny Heath a losing bonus point. This was a disappointing result for Heath who must learn to play the field when they visit Brods, getting points on the board when playing down the slope.
The result put both teams on 30 league points with Heath still placed higher (7th) with a superior points difference.
Finally, Ian Rushworth, from the Hx Courier, came to report on the game. Read it here: http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/sport/more-sport/brods-power-to-derby-victory-1-7583758