Good Home Win Moves Heath Up The League.
Heath welcomed North Ribblesdale to North Dean for this Yorkshire One encounter. Sitting one point above the visitors in the league table, Heath were looking for a bonus-point win to move further up the table. Si Brown and Mark Puttick were injured from last week. Cameron Ramsden and Dom Walsh came back in with Peter Birkett resuming in the back row.
The first 10 mins were evenly balanced as both sides tested each other out but the referee blew for a deliberate knock-on by Heath and Ribblesdale kicked a penalty to lead by 3 – 0 after 11 mins.
The first real attack from Heath followed a clever kick by Jack Crabtree which Callum Harriott-Brown charged down on 13 mins. Two minutes later a superb 50 metres run
by Josh White set up Heath to release Ezra Hinchliffe and ‘Ribb’ were caught offside. The penalty attempt was missed so Heath lost the chance to level the score on 16 mins.
Heath attacked again, featuring Hinchliffe, Daz Neilly, Alex McFadden and Matt Baxendale before the move broke down. Ribb were caught offside again and Hinchliffe’s goal-kick was successful: 3 – 3 on 19 mins. Ribb broke free on 23 mins and spent the next 5 mins encamped in the Heath 22 but the home defence was solid until a massive punt from Hinchliffe relieved the pressure, taking play up to the half way line for a lineout.
On 32 mins, Neilly made another break supported by Fergus Marsden but a try-scoring opportunity was lost when the pass went astray. On 35 mins, a high tackle resulted in a lineout 10m from Ribb’s line which Heath won. Quick passing along the line saw Ramsden go under the posts for Heath’s opening try, converted by Hinchliffe: 10 – 3. Heath were now playing well and Ribb were struggling. On 38 mins, another Heath penalty went just wide.
Heath began the second half well and Baxendale was unlucky pursuing a kick and chase. Next, Crabtree, Pollard and Baxendale were on the charge as Heath looked for openings on 45 mins. One came on 48 mins after Marsden won lineout ball and from the maul Walsh got Birkett away. From open play, Ramsden went in for his second try, converted by Hinchliffe: 17 – 3 and a well-deserved lead.
Heath were now dominant with Neilly, Josh White and Matt Beasty involved as Ribb struggled. However, the visitors re-grouped and attacked. From a quick tap-penalty on 55 mins, Chris Piper was sin-binned for not retreating behind the try-line. Paddy Kerr then replaced Daz Neilly at the scrum 5m from the Heath line. It was now the hosts who were struggling. Matt Beasty was injured and this brought on Ryan Hunter, on 57 mins.
On 61 mins, Ribb controlled the ball from a scrum and their No 8 went over for a try which was converted: 17 – 10. Mark Sales then replaced Jack Crabtree and the response was instant from Heath as Ribb dropped the ball from the re-start. Heath pounced and Pollard swooped over for a try. The conversion attempt was just short but Heath led 22 – 10 on 63 mins.
A great run from Harriott-Brown set up Heath’s next attack. Piper came back on for Rondene Johnson. Play from 70 mins onwards was scrappy as Heath looked for a fourth try. They were left defending for the last few minutes during which Peter Birkett’s effort was awesome. Ribb never stopped looking for another score but Heath’s defence was magnificent in the closing stages.
Heath did well to gain this victory and move up to sixth place in the league. With more accurate passing the margin could have been even bigger.