Heath through to last eight

Hamish Pratt scores for Heath at Yarnbury
Hamish Pratt scores for Heath at Yarnbury

Ezra Hinchliffe’s late, long-range penalty earned Heath a place in the quarter-finals of the Yorkshire Shield with a 20-17 win at Yarnbury on Saturday.

On a blank league Saturday for local rugby union clubs, the North Dean men travelled to North Leeds for a re-scheduled cup game against opponents from one division lower.

Following an overnight deluge the pitch was expected to cut up and, with a slippery ball, handling was likely to be difficult.

Heath got off to the worst possible start when Yarnbury kicked through and winger Si Brown failed to kick the ball it into touch, conceding an unconverted try in the corner.

Hinchliffe’s re-start didn’t go 10 metres and Yarnbury built another attack but Heath responded and when the hosts were offside Hinchliffe made it 5-3 with a 12th-minute penalty.

Hamish Pratt, Heath’s No 8, was making his mark and Yarnbury were repeatedly offside. Heath pressed home their advantage when Peter Birkett made an excellent break from a scrum, Darren Neilly supported at the ruck and the ball came out to Hinchliffe, who touched down and then converted to make it 10-5 to the visitors on 24 minutes.

Yarnbury levelled the score four minutes later with a well-worked try in the corner but the kick was missed.

Neilly, Mark Puttick and Chris Moore here held up short of the try line as Heath camped in the home 22 but Yarnbury broke just before half time and nearly scored.

Three minutes after the re-start, Neilly was sin-binned and soon after Ewan Miller was pulled up for a high tackle. A Puttick steal enabled Birkett to clear and a clever kick through from Rob Thackray had Yarnbury back-pedalling.

Yarnbury missed a penalty on 55 minutes and it was anyone’s game.

Pratt made a good run before Yarnbury were held up over the try-line by Alex Cust and Zac Dewhirst on 59 minutes. The home side were not to be denied and from a scrum on 63 minutes a clever missed pass gave the full-back ample room to beat a lone defender and score near the posts. The conversion put Yarnbury 17-10 up.

Heath refused to lie down and launched several attacks before Pratt went over and Hinchliffe’s kick levelled the scores on 68 minutes.

Fullback Cameron Ramsden had a run and Thackray was stopped in full flight by an ankle-tap.

Heath hit the front again with Hinchliffe’s penalty from far out and Heath had to keep their discipline as they clung on until the final whistle.