Missed opportunities cost game!
Heath made a welcome return to North Dean following a two-month absence. With Matt Baxendale injured, Sam Pollard came in at fullback and Ezra Hinchliffe moved into the centre. On the bench was Ryan Hunter replacing Darren Neilly.
York kicked off and were rewarded with a penalty in the first minute when Heath were caught offside: 0 – 3. Pollard was in the thick of things with tackles and clearance kicks as Heath found their feet. However, it was York doing the attacking and looking for a try.
On 15 mins a break from Dom Walsh set up Heath’s first real attack, then from a scrum he broke again to launch Si Brown who was bundled into touch with the try line beckoning. Heath were awarded a penalty for a high tackle but the kick was just wide.
Next, Jack Crabtree and Walsh linked with prop-forward Chris Piper as Heath moved the ball about. York absorbed the pressure and broke clear. Following up a clever kick and a further kick on, York’s wingman touched down for a try under the posts. His fly-half made no mistake with the conversion to make the score 0 – 10 on 22 mins.
On 35 mins, Heath finally achieved some penetration and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts after good work from No 8, Josh White. At a scrum in the corner a York player was sin-binned and from this position White went over for a try which was not converted: 5 – 10, going into half time.
After the interval, Heath had made a positive start, beginning with a kicking game to put pressure on their opponents. Fergus Marsden went close to a try as Heath maintained the pressure and when the ball was moved across the field it left Callum Harriett-Brown with a sprint and dive into the corner for a well-taken try on 46 mins. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt was wide: 10 – 10.
Heath had taken advantage of the York sin-binning but the visitors came back strongly once they were back to full strength. Mark Puttick replaced Alex McFadden as Heath defended a scrum only metres out. A superb clearance kick from Pollard put Heath on the attack, which caused York problems and resulted in them conceding a penalty. Hinchliffe gratefully converted to give Heath the lead on 55 mins: 13 – 10.
Pollard had to come off injured so Mark Sales entered the fray in the fly half slot, with the versatile Crabtree moving to fullback on 58 mins. Within two minutes, York evaded the home defence to score an unconverted try: 13 – 15. Ryan Hunter came on for Matt Beasty in the second row, for Heath.
From there, it was end-to-end as both teams went looking for a score. A superb kick from Crabtree found touch 5 metres out. With 10 mins left, another Heath penalty attempt went wide. The pressure mounted for both sides. Howard Hanks had to go off so McFadden returned on 74 mins. Time was running out for Heath. A York player was sent off for disputing a refereeing decision as tension mounted.
Heath’s final shot was an attempted drop-goal from Sales but the ball drifted wide and York sailed back the length of the field as time ran out. There was no dominant team in this match but York went home with 4 points leaving Heath with just the one bonus point.