Heath’s 15-13 home defeat at the hands of York yesterday was part of a black day for Calderdale’s six rugby union clubs, who all lost at first team level.
Dave Harrison’s men had high hopes of completing a Yorkshire One double in their first game at North Dean for almost two months but came up just short against opponents they had beaten 28-18 at York Sports Club in early October.
The mid-table pair were well matched and in a game of fine margins, Heath were left to reflect on their poor ball retention at the breakdown in the first half, lost lineout possession in advanced positions late on and missed shots at goal.
Centre Ezra Hinchliffe managed only one success from four kicks while experienced replacement Mark Sales was off target with a drop goal attempt in the closing stages.
York made the running in dry, mild conditions on a pitch in remarkably good condition considering the extent of the recent flooding.
A Liam Hessay penalty from the 22 gave the visitors early encouragement and Heath were grateful to fullback Sam Pollard for tidying up when more danger threatened.
Hinchliffe pulled a penalty opportunity wide and York stretched their lead to 10-0 going into the second quarter with a strike from half way.
Will Dunlop was first to Hessay’s well-weighted punt behind the home defence. The winger hacked the ball infield behind the posts and just got to it before it ran dead. Hessay converted.
Scrum half Dom Walsh and No 8 Josh White were to the fore as Heath took play into the York half in the run up to half time.
The home side turned down an easy three points in the quest for a try and after winger Si Brown had gone close, White forced his way over from close range. Hinchliffe was unable to convert.
York started the second half with 14 men, centre Chris Peace being in the sin-bin, and although they controlled the ball well for a time, Heath hit back to make it 10-10 on 46 minutes.
Heath had been under pressure in the scrum but took a ball against the head in an advanced position and winger Callum Harriet-Brown squeezed in at the corner.
Hinchliffe was unable to convert but gave his side a 13-10 lead from 30 metres on the hour after Heath had chased a clearance kick well and earned a penalty.
The crucial score came shortly after. York made ground through their forwards, earned a five metre scrum and marched the home eight back for No 8 Marcus Britland to touch down. Hessay missed the kick.
Heath finished strongly with Sales now calling the shots.
Hincliffe’s penalty was short and right, York prop Will Norrington was dismissed for a comment to the referee and Sales’s left foot drop goal attempt went wide of the right hand upright.
Play swung rapidly to the other end and after a melee near the try line the referee blew for full time.
Heath coach Dave Harrison thought York had been much stronger than in the first meeting and felt that the performance, and the losing bonus point, was a step forward after the defeat at Hullensians the previous week.