Heath’s late flourish not enough

Heath v Bradford Salem'Richard Brown
Heath v Bradford Salem'Richard Brown

Two tries in the last five minutes salvaged a losing bonus points for Heath in a 28-21 home defeat to Bradford Salem.

It was still a disappointing outcome for the North Dean men against opponents who also had only a single Yorkshire One victory to their name this season beforehand.

The bonus point took Heath above North Ribblesdale to third from bottom with Acklam bringing up the rear.

Heath brought in Alfie Blackhall on the left wing as Callum Harriet-Brown took his turn on the bench, alongside Mark Puttick and Olly Cook.

In perfect conditions, Heath kicked off but it was Salem who quickly put their hosts under the cosh.

However, Heath drew first blood from a scrum on their 22. They pushed the visitors back, the referee allowed advantage and scrum half Dominic Walsh passed quickly to Lewis Barrett, who released Jordan Bradbrook.

The fullback scythed through the Salem defence and then threw out a long pass in the direction of Blackhall. who went in at the corner. A superb touchline conversion by Ezra Hinchliffe made it 7-0 with 14 minutes gone.

From the re-start, the Salem scrum half was sin-binned for dissent. The home pack was in control but against the run of play Salem winger Nick Fontaine intercepted and ran almost the length of the field to score under the posts, Full back Danny Belcher added an easy conversion to level matters after 19 minutes.

Chris Moore was sin-binned for a high tackle.

It was Salem’s turn to press and they scored their second try on 30 minutes following a penalty lineout,the goal being added.

Heath were proving susceptible to the break and Salem again ran almost the full length of the field on 38 minutes. Howard Hanks claimed the ball but also gave away a penalty and Salem finished the half on the attack.

Heath began the second half well. Jack Sheldrake charged a kick down and fellow-centre Lewis Barrett and hooker Tom Baxter made ground. Salem were pulled up for obstruction but Hinchliffe’s kick went just wide.

The home side continued to press but when the visitors kicked through the ball bounced kindly for them and another try was scored under the posts, converted by Belcher to make it 7-21 on 55 minutes.

Heath had no answer to Salem’s quick breaks and conceded the bonus-point fourth try on the hour. The conversion was accurate and it looked all over at 7–28.

Dave Harrison rung the changes and Heath continued to put in the effort but made mistakes at crucial times.

Richard Brown touched down after the Heath pack surged forward in the closing stages and Hinchliffe converted.

Things suddenly got interesting when Matt Beasty won lineout ball and Hanks went over for a try, converted by Hinchliffe with two minutes left.

From the re-start, Bradbrook set off on a charge, with Sheldrake and Blackhall in support, backed up by Hinchliffe but the ball went into touch, heralding the final whistle.