Heath lose ground on leading teams with below-par display

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Knottingley 23

Heath 9

OUT-OF-SORTS Heath ended their 2011 programme on a low note.

After back-to-back home wins a game against lowly hosts looked another good opportunity for Kevin Plant’s side, even with a lengthy list of absentees.

However, they struggled for possession, missing Mark Puttick’s throwing in the lineout and having what scrum ball they won pounced on by the eager home side.

To make matters worse, the four sides above them in the table - Bridlington, Driffield, Pocklington and Keighley - all won.

In fine conditions, Heath quickly found themselves under pressure and conceded a penalty after four minutes to go 3-0 down.

It wasn’t until the 10th minute that Heath made their first foray into the Knottingley 22, following good work from fullback Ben Mitchell and scrum half Gary Pidgeon but the home side held firm and cleared their lines.

Martin Moana was penalised for a high tackle after 15 minutes and Knottingley increased their to lead 6-0.

The Heath pack began to work more as a unit, led by No 8 Chris Willett and Dave Montgomery. They were rewarded when Knottingley gave away a penalty on 20 minutes for Mitchell to make it 6-3.

On 23 minutes Willett held on to the ball too long on the floor and gave away a penalty on the half way line. The kick fell short but two minutes later yet another penalty allowed Knottingley to move 9-3 ahead.

Heath seemed lethargic and unable to match the energy and enthusiasm of the home team, who always played on the limit of offside in defence and battered Heath with ball in hand.

Heath began the second half full of buzz with Ezra Hinchliffe and Matt Baxendale keen to get the side moving.

On 45 minutes Knottingley gave away a penalty for Mitchell to reduce the deficit to three points but Knottingley scored a try from the restart when Heath were slow to clear and with an easy conversion the home side led 16-6.

An injury to prop Ollie Cook resulted in James Watson entering the fray on 53 minutes and he made some telling runs.

On 58 minutes a Mitchell penalty made it 16-9 but still Heath could not get their game together.

Knottingley restored their 10-point lead with a penalty on 64 minutes and this was followed by a period of even play.

With four minutes left Knottingley made another break and sealed victory with an unconverted try.