HEATH stopped the rot with only their second win in eight Yorkshire One games this season, beating visitors Barnsley 18-15 at North Dean.
Coach Kevin Plant had called for a positive reaction to the previous week, when his men had fallen away badly in the second half at York, and he got it with skipper Dave Montgomery showing the way.
Barnsley’s big pack threatened to bully their Heath counterparts in the second and third quarters but the home men dug in and victory lifted them above their visitors to third-from-bottom.
“We needed that - just to get a win was important,” said Plant. “It was not pretty but it was effective.”
Heath were out-scored three tries to two by the visitors, goal-kicking making the difference. While Charlie Lomas was sure-footed for the hosts, visiting stand off Josh Smith drew a blank, his misses including a conversion attempt from almost in front of the posts.
Montgomery, who started alongside the returning Martin Moana in the centre but also had a stint in the pack, was head and shoulders above anyone else on the field and responsible for both Heath’s tries.
The first was a superb individual effort from close to half way and he laid the second on a plate for young wingman Lewis McKenzie.
A match heavily punctuated by the whistle of eagle-eyed official Dave Lindsay was scoreless for the best part of half an hour with neither try line threatened.
Barnsley started to exert pressure in the scrums and Smith missed successive penalties midway through the opening period, the ball hardly getting off the ground from his initial effort.
A collision between two Heath forwards, hooker Mark Puttick and back rower Danny Ramsden, led to the deadlock being broken.
Both had to come off, although Puttick later went back on, and while the hosts were reorgananising Barnsley created an overlap wide on the right for winger Sam Simpson to score.
Heath hit back immediately, number nine Charlie Lomas making ground from the blind side at a scrum and landing a penalty when Barnsley offended to make it 3-5.
A late tackle earned visiting No 8 Dave Reed a yellow card and it was Heath’s turn to take advantage, Montgomery shaking off the attentions of half a dozen tacklers as he bulldozed his way to the posts from 40 metres. Lomas’s conversion made it 10-5 and Heath defended stoutly up to half time.
The home side added another five points in the first minute of the second half. Montgomery went rampaging down the touchline and when he was tackled a couple of yards short he popped the ball up for McKenzie to apply the easiest of finishes.
Barnsley hit back with their their open side flanker Neil Robinson prominent and full back Arron Gaunt returning Heath’s kicks with interest.
It was Gaunt who cut the lead to five points with an unconverted try five metres to the left of the posts on 52 minutes.
Lomas’s boot rewarded Heath for a good spell of pressure in the Barnsley half, making it 18-10, and the home side went close to a third try, McKenzie being pulled back for a forward pass and Olly Wilby ruled to have touched down after a double movement.
The gap was down to three points when centre Andy Buckingham dived over wide on the right with seven minutes left but the Heath pack was finishing the stronger and handling errors prevented Barnsley from mounting a late assault.