Hinchliffe penalty decisive

Heath v Pontefract Ezra Hinchliffe
Heath v Pontefract Ezra Hinchliffe

Heath made it four wins from their last five games, while still not hitting top form, with an 11-10 home win over Pontefract in Yorkshire One yesterday.

In excellent conditions, Kevin Plant’s men got straight into their rhythm. Despite missing a penalty after three minutes, they remained on the attack with slick passing between Sam Pollard, Cameron Ramsden and Ezra Hinchliffe.

Hamish Pratt took a quick penalty and set up Jack Blackhall and Pollard. Following up a high kick from Dominic Walsh, Pollard was tackled off the ball and Pontefract incurred their first sin-binning.

Heath put the ball in touch, won the lineout and although their rolling maul was halted, Hinchliffe gave them the lead with a penalty on 19 minutes.

Soon after, Pratt won good lineout ball, Walsh released Ian Downsborough on a barn-storming run and Pratt was on hand to finish the move with a powerful burst to the try line. The conversion was missed but Heath led 8–0 on 23 minutes.

Pontefract began to find their feet but fullback Pollard dealt with several high kicks and returning the ball with interest by running from deep or kicking well.

However, the visitors persevered and struck twice in the space of five minutes towards the end of the half.

Although neither was converted, Pontefract were 10-8 up against a Heath side no longer playing flowing rugby and making too many mistakes.

Heath began the second half tentatively, although Gareth Webb went close and replacement Darren Neilly made an impact.

They had a penalty which hit a post on 53 minutes.

Heath tried hard to break through with Si Brown and Rob Thackray linking well. A superb kick into space across the field by Matt Cook set up another attack and Hinchliffe missed a relatively easy penalty chance.

After an altercation involving Will Sellars the game livened up and Pontefract began giving away penalties again.

On 68 minutes, one of their players was yellow-carded and this time Hinchliffe put Heath back in front.

Play was even from then on and the four points helped Heath consolidate their position near the middle of a very tight division.