Match Report: Saturday 28 January 2017

Reported by Steve Dawes
FINAL SCORE: Heath RUFC 26 vs Old Crossleyans 7

A first half to forget but a Bonus point win in the end


1. Kerr   2. Puttick   3. Morley   4. James
5. Owen    6. Wilkinson 7. Wilby 12. Mellor
9. Cole 10. Malik 11. Burbidge 13 Bull 14 Hunter 15 Hinchcliffe
Replacements: Day


With Dawes and Davies missing through injury and late call ups to the first team to cover late withdrawals, of Barnes and Reynolds, it was a reorganised team that took to the field against Crocs. With our opponents travelling with only 12 players and no props, Whitworth and Hammond graciously offered to play for them, allowing contested scrums and Dodd played in the backs.

Crocs kicked off into the Heath pack and very quickly took charge, there was very little that could be said about early play and in fact the best players on the park were the afore mentioned Hammond and Whitworth. The whole Crocs pack were more aggressive in the breakdown and Heath looked 2nd best in every part of the pitch. It was no surprise then when a neat chip through from Crocs resulted in a chase which they won forcing a try to the right of the posts which was converted. 0-7

Heath looked rocked and had no answer, they were again under pressure from the restart and they were lucky to hold the first period to one single score. With Hammond putting his body on the line and Whitworth providing quality ball in the lineout, we were in danger of letting 5 points slip against a team we had dominated away.

In one respite from the Crocs pressure Malik found some space and he released Mellor for a try under the posts, Cole converted 7-7

Much of the rest of the half is not worth mention and it was a relief when the ref blew for half time.

Coles half time team talk was justifiably unprintable. And it was a relief also that Day arrived after being delayed with James struggling with a leg injury. Mellor moved into the backs with Burbidge moving into the pack, James left the field.  With Crocs also having a team mate arrive late , Dodd switched back to Heath to take us to 15.

The 2nd period saw an immediate change in Heaths attitude, the forwards powered through and put Crocs under pressure, with Wilkinson driving through he found Morley who manage to crash through the defence for a try which Cole again converted. 14-7.

From the restart, Heath again powered into Crocs territory, Cole found space with a deft kick to the 22 and the lineout was turned over. Heath drove forward but a move through Mellor and Wilkinson was unlucky to end up with a narrow forward pass to Wilby.  Heath kept the momentum up, Dodd was unlucky to be tackled into touch with just the full back to beat. From the line out,Crocs were adjudged to have thrown in not straight and from the scrum Cole passed to Mellor who managed to weave through for a score, again the reliable Cole took the extras 21 -7.

Crocs were now struggling, as Heath looked for the 4th bonus point try that was so crucial in their chase for the title. Their kick failed to travel 10m and Heath put pressure on in the scrum. However, Crocs regrouped, and cleared every attack.  Heath were pushing hard but failed to finish off several moves with a series of knock-ons and penalties in the breakdown.  Just when the crowd thought the score would not come, Burbidged manage a break from a ruck and when it looked like he had been wrapped up, he managed to offload to Wilkinson to twist over for a score and the all-important bonus point. Cole missed the difficult conversion out wide. 26-7.

Hammond left the field after a stoic performance in the pack for Crocs, to a nasty head injury and Heath closed out the game.

This was a performance we need to put behind us, the 2nd period was much better but with a free weekend now coming up, the team should regroup and recover from a period of three tough games which may have been the reason for a sluggish start this week.  With YMCA, away to use as a warm up (but not taken lightly) we go should go into a possible title decider against Rishworthians on the 25th

Full Time Heath 26– Crocs 7



Tries 4 Drop Goals 0
Penalty Tries 0 Penalty Goals 0
Conversions 3 Attendance 40
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