Heath battle to Shield win

Bradford Salem v Heath in Yorkshire Shield. Heath won 26-23.''Ezra Hinchliffe
Bradford Salem v Heath in Yorkshire Shield. Heath won 26-23.''Ezra Hinchliffe

Heath earned a trip to Beverley in the Yorkshire Shield quarter finals on November 18 with a 26-23 win away to Bradford Salem yesterday.

A late penalty from Ezra Hinchliffe gave them victory in a game which saw three players sent off - two from Salem - but did not contain many flash points.

Victory came at a price for Heath, who return to Salem next Saturday for a Yorkshire One game, with Mark Puttick, Martyn Barnes and Sam Pollard among those suffering injuries.

In-form Heath were much-changed with coach Dave Harrison giving starts to Paddy Kerr, Puttick, Fergus Marsden and Barnes in the forwards and Michael Reynolds and Cameron Ramsden in the backs.

They applied pressure with a strong wind at their backs and a slick move started by Hinchliffe might have produced a try but Callum Harriett-Brown dropped the pass from Pollard.

Heath continued to press but lost Olly Cook to the sin-bin for a late tackle and as the visitors re-adjusted Salem took advantage.

New signing James Simpson followed up a clever kick to touch down and Danny Belcher converted after 25 minutes.

Heath were struggling to win line out ball but eventually got on the scoreboard with a Hinchliffe penalty.

Cook returned and from a scrum Ian Downsborough popped up with the ball and gave Heath an 8-7 lead, only for a Belcher penalty to nudge Salem back in front before half time.

There was an explosive start to the second period with Chris Moore and Salem prop Tom O’Sullivan dismissed for fighting.

Hinchliffe and Harriett-Brown linked well and Heath went close to scoring before a huge kick from Eddie Cartwright set up Heath’s next attack. Fergus Marsden won lineout ball and a controlled drive led to Cook crossing for a converted try and a 15-10 lead after 50 minutes.

Richard Brown came on and made an immediate impact with some strong running but following a period of scrappy play Salem regained the lead with a converted try on 57 minutes.

Harriett –Brown went on a run from the re-start and Salem gave away a penalty, missed by Hinchliffe.

From the restart the ball came to Brown and he was challenged illegally by No 8 Christian Baines, who was sent off.

Hinchliffe found touch with the penalty, Marsden won the ball and Hinchliffe and Brown linked to send Jason Merrie over for a try and a 20-17 lead.

Two penalties to the home side and one to Heath left it 23-23 with 10 minutes remaining.

Jack Crabtree’s drop goal attempt went well wide but Hinchliffe calmly slotted the winning penalty.

Harrison said: “The lads who came in gave a good account of themselves in a difficult game.”