Thwaite puts boot into Heath
Heath suffered a surprise 15-12 defeat to a North Ribblesdale side registering only a second win of 2017 in their fight to stay in Yorkshire One.
They gave the home side a lesson in how to defend and spring a counter attack to perfection.
On a bright, sunny day Ribb took early control and were rewarded with a third minute penalty from stand-off Michael Thwaite.
Heath were struggling to get going and had a let off when Thwaite missed another penalty on eight minutes.
It wasn’t until the 16th minute that Jack Sheldrake broke clear and set up the hosts’ first real attack.
North Ribblesdale hit back but Olly Cook scooped up a loose ball and linked with Richard Brown and Eddie Cartwright, only for Jordan Bradbrook to drop it.
Luke Saltonstall scrambled the ball dead from a kick through from Martin Bokiss.
Ribb were having all the play but the sin binning of their winger Dave Fox for a high tackle after 25 minutes opened the door for Heath.
From the penalty, Ezra Hinchliffe found touch. The line out was taken to Matt Beasty and from the surge forwards, Dom Walsh released James Robson and Hinchliffe scythed through to score a try under the posts.
Hinchliffe converted and Heath led 7-3 much against the run of play.
Heath began to pull the visitors apart with strong link up play. Saltonstall and Jack Sheldrake had good runs on the wings but Heath could not find a way through before half time.
A penalty from Thwaite reduced the arrears and he was on target again to give the visitors a 9-7 lead on 55 minutes.
Heath’s response was immediate, Jordan Moana picking up a loose ball and charging 20 metres for an unconverted try.
The visitors would not lie down and the game opened up. Ryan Hunter had a good run, followed by Olly Cook and Chris Moore, but Heath could not find a way through the defence.
This was probably Heath’s best spell but Thwaite made it 12-12 and the sin-binning of Eddie Cartwright for a deliberate knock on spurred Ribb to go for a victory which was gained by Thwaite’s fifth penalty.