Late rally not enough for Heath

Jeff Jones looks to get Heath moving against Pontefract
Jeff Jones looks to get Heath moving against Pontefract

Heath 36 Pontefract 42

A late scoring burst from Heath was not enough to prevent them slipping to a narrow Yorkshire One defeat by Pontefract

Both sides opened brightly and Si Brown went close to intercepting a pass from which he would have gone over between the posts after just two minutes.

Continued pressure from Heath and good work from prop Olly Cook released Jeff Jones, who held onto the ball long enough to draw in the Ponte’ defence. He then released scrum half Dom Walsh, who in turn passed the ball to Ryan Hunter. He realised he could not make the line and winger Luke Clogher took over, kicked the ball through and Dave Montgomery backed up to touch down for an excellent try.

Ponte’ immediately piled on the pressure and ex-England A-team player Derek Eves caught a line-out ball and went over in the corner for a convereted try and a 7-5 lead. From the kick-off, Pontefract mounted yet another attack and several missed tackles saw Spears go over, converted by Dean. From the restart, Heath’s Hunter gathered and released prop James Watson on a surging run, resulting in Ponte’ giving away a penalty and Lomas obliging with the kick to reduce the arrears at 14-8.

Ezra Hinchliffe produced a superb tackle to prevent a certain score before, following a kick through, Brown just failed to touch down. Five minutes later Heath were right back in it when Lomas converted a penalty for offside from halfway. However, from the kick off, the visitors gathered and, once again, some inept tackling saw them score another converted try. Heath’s immediate reply was a Lomas penalty, pulling the score back to 21-14.

Pontefract attacked again and, when Watson, Hunter and Jeff Jones pushed the hooker away from the try line and Walsh cleared, it looked as if the danger was over, but the visitors’ full-back caught the ball and passed along a strong line for them to go over in the opposite corner for a converted try.

Winger Brown came off for the second half and was replaced by Rob Thackeray. However, this was short-lived as centre Ben Littlewood pulled a groin and Brown was back on two minutes later.

Ponte’ attacked and only another superb cover tackle from Hinchliffe prevented a try. Walsh cleared, but the visitors continued pressing and came as no surprise when Eves went over following a line-out in the corner, the conversion taking the score out to 35-14.

Heath responded when Hetherington kicked through and wing Dedicote put the ball into touch. The resulting line out was taken by Jones and, from the drive, Heath went over for a try from Cook. Converted by Lomas.

Ponte’ hit straight back with a try under the posts after which Heath rang the changes. Richard Cole came on at scrum half for Walsh and Richardson for Hunter. This seemed to have an impact, and, following yet another pounding run from Jones, backed up by another run from Hinchliffe, Jamie Richardson took advantage of the visitor’s indecision and scored a well taken try, converted by Lomas.

Ill-discipline from Ponte’ gave away a penalty, which Hetherington put into the corner. A great tackle from Olly Collinge, saw run around ball from Jones and then Montgomery dive over for an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 42-33 with 12 minutes left.

Heath were rampant and a penalty was converted by Lomas to make it 42-36 and Heath well on top and continuing to press. The whole team threw everything at the visitors’ defence but, despite several close shaves, they held firm.