Heath grab a late point

Heath v Middlesbrough'Darren Neilly scores
Heath v Middlesbrough'Darren Neilly scores

A late converted try from Darren Neilly rescued a losing bonus point for Heath, whose poor start to the season in Yorkshire One continued with a 22-15 home defeat by Middlesbrough.

The North Dean men had their customary last-minute re-shuffle, with Will Sellars coming in to prop, Olly Cook dropping back to second row and Neilly reverting to No 8. Olly Collinge started at wing forward.

Heath, wearing an unfamiliar green kit to avoid a clash with the visitors’ claret and gold, were soon on the back foot.

Winger Rhys Kilbride might have got away had his kick through not just edged into touch and Eddie Cartwright had to make the ball safe in Heath’s in-goal area.

A good re-start got Heath to the ‘Boro 22 metre line and an Ezra Hinchliffe penalty put the home side ahead after six minutes.

The visitors hit back within three minutes when centre Aeden Moloney scored a try near the posts which fullback Jack Bircham converted.

Heath twice opted to go fore touch when awarded penalties in the Middlesbrough 22 and a try went begging when the ball was passed several feet above Craig Heppenstall’s head when the winger could have strolled in.

Several opportunities went begging when ‘Boro created overlaps but Heath fought back through Heppenstall and one searing run by Thackray, which was halted just short of the try-line.

A minute later the same player had the ball knocked out of his hand going over the try-line. Neilly made a splendid break, supported by Collinge, and towards the end of the half ‘Boro had a penalty attempt which went wide.

The Heath line-out was functioning well but a score of 3-7 reflected the lack of a cutting edge.

The hosts opened the second half with slick passing from the backs but were stopped just short.

A quickly-taken tap penalty by scrum-half Connor Foley led to Middlesbrough bringing their big forwards into the game with a series of inside passes.

The ‘Boro fullback beat several defenders but put a foot in touch. However, weak tackling in midfield allowed powerful centre Michael Thornburn to score under the posts and Bircham converted.

Heath scrum half Dominic Walsh made a sparkling run and Hamish Pratt took a quick tap penalty. Heath were held near the try-line but from a scrum on 54 minutes Walsh pounced on a loose ball for an unconverted try to make it 8-14.

Some uninspiring rugby followed before scrum half Connor Foley scored an excellent try near the posts which was not converted to make it 8–19.

After a spell of ‘ping-pong’ kicking, there was flare-up which resulted in the dismissals of Boro’s Isa Warsama and Heath’s Si Brown.

A sliced clearance from Cartwright led to some desperate defending by Heath. Walsh was sin-binned and an O’Farrell penalty made it 8–22 on 75 minutes.

Boro lock Euan Tremlett was yellow-carded and Heath camped on the opposition try-line, Neilly eventually touching down and Hinchliffe converting.