Match Report: Saturday 16 December 2006

Reported by Graystokes
FINAL SCORE: Leodiensians RUFC 20 vs Heath RUFC 25

Excellent away win at Leos.

Heath Firsts. Whilst the going was soft, the conditions for the afternoon’s play were bright but cold and Heath hoped they could take the game to Leos, after their morale boosting performance at Dinnington the previous week.

The Leeds side kicked off and for the first couple of minutes pressed into Heath’s 22. However, this initial surge was comfortably soaked up and then it was the West Vale men’s turn to apply pressure of their own. This they did for the next 15 minutes, playing most of the game, if not in Leo’s 22, then in the home side’s half. The forwards looking particularly strong and some good drives coming from Chris Merrick, in the centre.

After another forward drive a bad leg injury was picked up by backrower Eddie Blackmore and he was forced to leave the pitch – being replaced by Ian Downsborough. A penalty to Heath then quickly followed, from a scrum infringement by Leo’s no 6 Fforde, and the points on offer were gratefully accepted by stand off Ryan Piper, as the visitors went three nil up as reward for their hard work.

From the restart, Leos made their way into Heath’s half, for the first time in a while. An attacking scrum saw the blind side heavily covered in defence but the Leeds side moved the ball open, down the line for the winger to score in the corner. The conversion was the first of many missed attempts by standoff Eddie. Score now 5 – 3 to Leos, after 20 minutes or so of play.

The next failed attempt was a penalty, which bounced off the crossbar, and whilst Heath’s fullback Hetherington initially cleared, Leos attacked again. Their fullback came into the line and created the overlap for winger Jones to score in the corner. The tally was now 10 – 3 to Leos, after the missed conversion attempt.

From the kick off, Heath moved the ball well and momentum was only lost when play was illegally killed in the tackle by the Leeds side. Heath kicked the resulting penalty to touch and set the backs up again, from clean lineout possession. Winger Si Brown then brushed off a tackle as he sped to the line to score a converted try. 10 apiece, with 5 minutes of the first half remaining.

From the restart it was Leos turn to reapply some pressure and, following a missed kick to touch, they ran the ball back for their winger Brown to score in the corner – despite suggestions of “forward” from spectators and players alike. The conversion was again missed and the score was 15 10 in the home side’s favour at half time.

The second half started with Heath pressing from the off and it was the West Vale men who were first over their opponents line, but the ball was dropped and no try followed. Five more minutes of pressure failed to provide a score, as the attack was too lateral. However, Heath produced an eight-man shove from a scrum on Leos’ line and Ian Downsborough picked up to go over for a try converted by Piper. Now 17 – 5 in Heath’s favour.
From the restart, good tackling from the West Vale men stopped Leos in their tracks and the Heath’s counter was only halted by a forward pass being called. The next break saw the ball down Heath’s back line and winger Si Brown away for another try – only to have a second forward called, to ironic cheers from the travelling band of supporters. Then more hard work produced a penalty for Heath, which moved the score on to 20 – 15 in their favour.

Next, a great probing kick from Piper had Leos in their own 22. A good drive at a line out took the home side over their own line and a 5-metre scrum followed. The ball was popped to Piper who raced forward but was held up. From the next scrum Piper took the ball again and managed to lay it off to Alistair Gordon in support – he drove over for a fine try. Piper suffered his first missed kick of the afternoon as Heath moved to 25 -10 infront.

Oliver Wilby then brought fresh legs to the game as he replaced line out specialist and backrower Joe Shipman.

Heath’s ever-present no 8, Mark Shields, was then sin-binned for reacting to Leos again killing the ball in a ruck and it looked like the West Vale men would have to hold on in the final stages of the game, one man down. This wasn’t to be as scrum half Cole was subsequently yellow carded in confusing circumstances.

Suitably depleted, Heath played the rest of normal time and what seemed to be a good chunk of additional time, containing Leos’ fierce final attacks. Sadly one unconverted try was leaked to bring the score to 25 – 20 at the final whistle.

Whilst Heath were a team covering some positions and nursing injuries in others, it didn’t show. It was another spirited performance, following on from last week’s at Dinnington, where basic skills and application took 2 points from a Leeds side that hadn’t lost at home, till now, this season.

Tries 3 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 2
Conversions 2 Attendance 125
Click any image to enlarge

Colie breaking through
Colie breaking through
Joe Shipman
Joe Shipman
Wiggy's ball.
Wiggy's ball.