Heath 27 Ilkley 21
Heath maintained their good recent form in Yorkshire One with a thoroughly deserved victory over third placed Ilkley at West Vale.
Jamie Richardson was a late withdrawal so Ian Downsborough moved up to the second row and Jeff Jones came in at No8 with Ollie Collinge taking his place on the bench.
Charlie Lomas pulled an early penalty wide and after Ollie Cook, Jones and Mark Puttick had made good runs, the ball came out to centre Dave Montgomery who charged through to open Heath’s account with an unconverted try.
Ilkley came back and on 13 minutes they missed a penalty but when Jones was caught offside Mike Cachia converted to make it 5-3.
Heath’s pack were superb at this stage and when Chris Moore, Cook and Ollie Wilby charged through, Ilkley conceded a penalty for Lomas to make it 8-3 after 25 minutes.
A period of open play followed as both teams looked for another score. Ilkley’s, Steve Nolson recieved the ball on the halfway line and ran through missed tackles to go over for an unconverted tryto level ther scores at 8-8 at the interval.
The visitors began the second half strongly and only an alert Mick Gleeson prevented a score in the opening minutes. However, after relentless pressure, Heath gave away a penalty for Ilkley to take the lead.
Heath had to re-group and a clever kick from Giles Hetherington nearly got Gleeson in but the ball bobbled into touch.
Heath maintained the pressure and, after an inspirational run, Ezra Hinchcliffe popped the ball to Lomas who went over for a converted try.
Next, after Lomas linked up with Montgomery, the ball was moved across to Gleeson who took on the defence, putting in a grubber kick which looked certain to yield a try, but an Ilkley defender kicked the ball dead just as he was ready to pounce.
More good play followed from Hinchcliffe and when he released Hetherington a nicely flighted pass to Si Brown opened up the gap.
As the Ilkley defence came across, Ollie Renton was alleged to have tripped Brown and was sin-binned.
With Heath sustaining the pressure, another Ilkley player was sin-binned, reducing the contest to 15 players against 13 with 15 minutes remaining. Constant pressure resulted in a penalty try to Heath which Lomas converted to make it 22-11.
Heath were playing really well and Hetherington put in yet another clever kick for Puttick, lurking on the wing. The hooker produced a great turn of speed which almost brought a try, but Ilkley fly-kicked the ball into touch.
Then a splendid team effort involving all the players was skillfully finished as Gleeson glided through three defenders to round off a superb game and score the bonus-point try.
Ilkley came back with a vengeance, storming ahead with a driving maul from which Iain MacKenzie scored a converted try and suddenly it was all to play for again at 27-18.
With minutes left, Stuart Vincent kicked a penalty to bring Ilkley closer at 27 21 but Heath hung on as the referee ended what seemed a particularly long second half.