Strong second half display is not enough

Mark Puttick and Cameron Ramsden against Pontefract
Mark Puttick and Cameron Ramsden against Pontefract

Pontefract 28 Heath 22

Heath travelled to Pontefract looking to make amends for their performance against Yorksahire One bottom club Knottingley the previous week.

Giles Hetherington moved up to centre for the injured Karl Craven with Cameron Ramsden drafted into the full back position.

Ollie Collinge started at No.6 leaving Oliver Wilby to take a turn on the bench.

Ezra Hinchcliffe missed a great kicking opportunity to open Heath’s account in the second minute when Pontefract were caught offside.

Both sides made mistakes with missed passes and knock-ons. before Heath’s front row began to have an effect with Cook and Puttick making strong runs.

From a scrum on halfway Pontefract’s Chris Sant made a great break only to be caught by Ian Downsborough. As Heath tried to re-group, wing Andrew Tillett went over for a try which full back Andy Dean converted to put Pontefract 7-0 ahead.

The home side continued to attack in waves and Heath struggled, giving away a penalty on their line on 22 minutes.

Pontefract elected to scrimmage and the referee quickly awarded a penalty try when a Heath player parted from the scrum. It was converted to make the score 14-0.

Heath tried to find gaps from the restart but once again a missed pass allowed Pontefract to kick through and turn defence into attack. Downsborough was doing his best to stem the tide but many others were missing tackles and on 25 minutes Pontefract went over again through Sant with Dean converting for a comfortable 21-0 lead.

Ryan Hunter and Jamie Richardson were beginning to win good lineout ball and from one it looked as though Heath might open their account but Pontefract held firm.

Heath kept plugging away and Hetherington intercepted a pass on the home 22 andjuggled with the ball before being tackled. Downsborough was there in support and stormed over for a try, converted by Hinchcliffe, to make it 21-7 at the break.

Heath brought on Wilby for Collinge, Pidgeon movedto scrum half for Walsh with Jack Sheldrake going to centre and Hetherington taking over the fly half berth from Hinchcliffe.

The reshuffle had immediate effect with Puttick, Gleeson and Hetherington all going close before Ramsden looked to have scored but the referee blew for an infringement in the scrum.

Heath increased the pace and on 48 minutes Pontefract’s wing was sin-binned for handling in the ruck.

The visitors continued to throw the ball about and when Pontefract looked to play the ball behind the try-line, Pidgeon pounced for a try which Gleeson converted for 21-14.

Following skilful passing from all the Heath back row, a grubber kick through was collected by Brown but he was held up just short. From the scrum, Hetherington put in a towering kick across the field for Gleeson but Pontefract managed to clear the ball into touch.

Chris Moore was injured so Collinge returned and as Heath ran rampant, Pontefract lost the ball at a scrum and Downsborough scooped it up to charge over for his second try.

Moore came back on with 12 minutes left before a rare foray into the Heath 22 saw Pontefract kick the ball to the dead ball line.

All were moving for the restart but the Heath fullback was adjudged not to have touched down properly. Heath struggled at the resulting scrum and the referee immediately awarded a second penalty try which was converted to make the score 28-19.

Heath bounced back and were awarded a penalty which Gleeson converted to close the gap to 28-22 and secure a losing bonus point.

The Pontefract hooker was sin-binned for a high tackle on Montgomery who had to be replaced by Hinchcliffe before one final attacking phase ended when a misjudged kick forward saw the ball collected by Pontefract and the game brought to an end.