Heath were unable to follow up the previous week’s convincing home win over Wath-upon-Dearne when beaten 21-6 at Middlesbrough yesterday.
Tom Depledge was hooker in the absence of unavailable captain Mark Puttick and late withdrawals resulted in Cameron Ramsden being the only replacement for the Yorkshire One contest.
In glorious conditions, Heath kicked off and made a promising start. Ezra Hinchliffe, Gaz Webb and Jacob Storey linked well as the visitors attacked in the home 22.
Eddie Cartwright did well to pick up a low pass from Storey but his pass went astray and the move broke down. Then Ian Downsborough released Si Brown and Cartwright but the inside pass was dropped.
However, the hosts were found offside and Hinchliffe put Heath 3-0 up.
An interception by Brown set up Hamish Pratt, who made ground before passing to Cartwright but the movement stopped there.
Middlesbrough mounted their first attack on 15 minutes and from a penalty claimed lineout ball 10 metres from the Heath try line. Number 10 Sam Gaudie jinked over for a try under the posts which was converted.
The home side were getting on top and centre Jack McPhillips went over for a second try, converted by fullback Matthew Todd, to make it 14-3 after 25 minutes.
A Hinchliffe penalty cut the deficit to eight points but Heath had to stand firm against sustained pressure as half time approached.
Heath added control to their play at the start of the second period. Downsborough and Hinchliffe went close and the latter then saved a try at the end when knocking the ball out of an opponent’s hand.
Ramsden came on for Martin Barnes but on 62 minutes mistakes from Heath allowed McPhillips to score a converted try which made it 21–6.
Dominic Walsh and Hinchliffe tried to inject some life into Heath’s play and the home pack was reduced to seven men when influential No 8 Iain Bradford was sin-binned for repeatedly being offside.
Callum Harriet-Brown stretched his legs five minutes from time but the home defence had him well covered.
Heath’s next game is at home to third-placed Yarnbury on February 2.