Heath find Welch took hot to handle

Malton and Norton v Heath
Sam Pollard

Malton and Norton v Heath Sam Pollard

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Heath produced an error-strewn performance and were beaten 32-13 at home by third-placed Bridlington, who scored 13 points without reply in the last eight minutes.

On a cold, fine afternoon with unusually firm conditions under foot, Heath turned down the chance of an easy early penalty shot but accepted a second opportunity, Ezra Hinchliffe making it 3-0

Brid pressed the Heath line, providing a stern test of a defence in which Ian Downsborough and Fergus Marsden were prominent.

A kick to touch by Brid was palmed down into the hands of the visitors’ speedy winger Jack Arthur, who scored near the posts. Will Davies converted for 3-7 on 12 minutes.

Josh White led the response but Heath kicked away possession and Heath were clearly below par compared with the near miss at Malton the previous week.

In contrast, Brid were on song and their centre Ryan Girking scored wide out on the end of a two-man overlap. There was no conversion.

Heath were still at sixes and sevens but did improve to mount some pressure before the visitors’ outstanding Kiwi fly-half Matthew Welsh went through unopposed and Davies converted to extend the seasiders’ lead to 19-3.

Both sides created openings at the end of the half.

Downsborough was always on the ball for Heath, disrupting Brid’s attacks, but the hosts struggled in the scrums and kicked away too much possession to a well-drilled, strong side which didn’t lack pace.

Slick passing between the Brid three-quarters brought their fullback into the line but the final pass went into touch.

Hinchliffe relieved pressure with a long kick and a great drive followed, but Downsborough was adjudged to have lost the ball grounding it over the try line.

Heath took charge at this point and Brid lost a prop to the sin bin. A good handling move put Sam Pollard in at the corner and Hinchliffe’s conversion made it 10-19 on 52 minutes.

Heath spent 10 minutes largely on the back foot before ringing the changes.

Hinchliffe raised the prospect of at least a losing bonus point when his penalty made it 13-19.

Fergus Marsden side-stepped down the touchline and soon after Heath won a lineout in an attacking position but lost possession.

Davies kicked another penalty to extend the Brid lead and the visitors really upped the tempo, using their pace and ball-retention skills to close Heath out of the game.

Welch scored after slick passing between forwards, the conversion attempt hitting a post.

Welch then broke away again, eventually putting Brid’s No. 20 in for an unconverted try, and Heath must do better when they entertain Bradford Salem next weekend.