Heath rue ‘try’ that got away

Jeff Jones of Heath on the burst against York
Jeff Jones of Heath on the burst against York

Heath 3 York 16

Heath narrowed the gap on York from their first meeting but were unable to prevent a third successive defeat in Yorkshire One.

The fifth-placed visitors, who had thrashed the North Dean men 57-17 in October, met more resistance this time but were deserved winners thanks to an early converted try and three penalties from the heavy boot of stand off Jon Dawes,

On a bright, windless day, the main talking point aftewards was the performance of Northumberland referee Jack Pellew and what might have happened had he not ruled out what appeared to be a perfectly good try from Heath’s Giles Hetherington early in the second half.

Pellew ruled that the stand off had been held up to the left of the posts and a likely seven points, which would have given the home side the lead, went begging.

His debatable policing of the scrums, in which Heath appeared to have a marginal advantage, and a tendancy to play advantage and then go back for a penalty nowhere near where the original offence took place, also frustrated spectators.

The withdrawals due to injury of Karl Craven, Ryan Hunter and Ian Downsborough from the selected side were a big blow for Heath and the loss of lock Jamie Richardson (knee) after five minutes left them stuggling to plug the holes.

Enthusiastic No 8 Jeff Jones and the talented Hetherington attempted to show the way but a huge York side, who may not quite punch their weight if the league table is to be believed, still had a little too much all-round strength.

Latecomers missed the first 10 points - a Hetherington penalty followed by a breakaway York try completed by flanker Rick Roberts and converted by Dawes - in the opening five minutes.

That was the extent of the scoring in a first half punctuated by injury stoppages.

Jones made a rampaging run down the middle but it was York who carried the bigger threat, Charlie Lomas getting back to make one try-saving tackle and Heath having another escape when the York forwards drove to the line from a lineout catch and drive.

Heath felt justice had been done when Dawes was off target with a 32nd minute penalty after York had appeared to be the offenders at a ruck.

The home side finished the half on the offensive and picked up where they left off, aided by York’s kick off failing to go 10 metres.

Scrum half Gary Pigeon, prop Chris Moore and Hetherington all made ground and although a forward pass temporarily halted progress, Hetherington sliced through but was ruled not to have got the ball down, his disbelieving smile and shake of the head indicating what he thought of the decision.

Heath were unable to press home their advantage from the subsequent five metre scrum, after York had wisely replaced a prop in their back-pedalling scrum, and Dawes edged York 10-3 up with a low, exocet missile of a penalty from four metres inside his own half on 51 minutes.

Heath were losing their composure and trying to force the pass, giving the ball back to York as soon as they got it. Dawes put more daylight between the teams from 40 metres after 64 minutes but missed with another attempt shortly after.

The sin-binning of York prop Darren Rutherford on 70 minutes gave Heath a glimmer of hope of at least snatching a losing bonus point.

However, they were starting to run on empty and a misfiring lineout added to their problems, Dawes having the final say with another three-pointer on 78 minutes.