Home hat-trick for Heath
Heath showed more character than craft to complete a hat-trick of home wins with a 10-5 success over third-placed Yarnbury in Yorkshire One yesterday.
Matt Baxendale’s 18th-minute interception try proved crucial in a game of a few scoring opportunities as they followed up successes over Selby and Wath-Upon-Dearne.
The winger’s score, plus Ezra Hinchliffe’s fine conversion after an earlier penalty, helped them into a 10-0 lead and with scrum dominance it looked plain sailing.
However, a Yarnbury side still looking for a first win of 2015 had the upper hand for the next 50 minutes before Heath wrestled back the initiative in the closing stages.
A very heavy pitch ensured there would be no repeat of the earlier points fest between the sides, the Horsforth side having taken the honours 57-37 in October.
Heath, still needing points to avoid a relegation scramble, took only three minutes to open the scoring on their sheltered North Dean pitch.
A Yarnbury forward fielded the kick off but fumbled going to ground and Matt Cook, a late inclusion on Heath’s right flank, made 40 metres.
When the visitors were offside in centre field Hinchliffe kicked the penalty for 3-0.
Yarnbury could do little right but when they did finally mount an attack left winger Baxendale picked off a pass near his own 22.
Rival Alex Clark collared him five metres short of the try line but Baxendale showed good strength to fend him off and score.
Hinchliffe added an excellent conversion considering the conditions.
Yarnbury took charge, aided by some proficient lineout work and missed tackles and individual errors from their hosts.
Injuries to big forwards Fergus Marsden and Hamish Pratt and back Baxendale did not help the home cause and Yarnbury deservedly hit back a couple of minutes before the interval.
Stand off Steve Riley broke down the middle, was well supported by a couple of back row forwards and a long pass left Clark with an easy finish wide of the right. Riley was unable to convert.
Yarnbury were pressing for another try, with their forwards battering away at a resilient defence, when a flare-up resulted in yellow cards for rival props Chris Piper (Heath) and Rich Lister.
The third quarter was punctuated by numerous stoppages and Yarnbury continued to enjoy a territorial advantage.
Their forwards went close in the corner and when Heath hooker Mark Puttick was sin-binned it seemed the home side must crack.
Yarnbury were held up over the try line from a catch and drive before replacement Alex Cust, a back rower playing in the centre, turned over possession in front of his posts and turned the tide in Heath’s favour.
That proved a turning point with the home side were visibly lifted.
Eddie Cartwright, Hinchliffe and Dom Walsh all put in good kicks and talisman Ian Downsborough, having his usual excellent game, stole possession as play moved into the Yarnbury half.
Heath had never looked like adding to their interception try but they held on comfortably.