Heath draw thriller away to champs
A late penalty from York forced a 25-25 draw and made them Yorkshire One champions, while denying visitors Heath a vital victory in their quest for second spot.
It leaves the West Vale men needing nine points from two tough home games, against a Middlesbrough side still in with a chance of going up and a rematch with York, to ensure they take the runners-up spot ahead of Scarborough.
David Harrison’s side put in a tremendous performance of grit and determination in another excellent advert for level seven rugby.
Richard and Lee Brown returned to bolster a Heath pack which has dominated many games this season but Jordan Bradbrook joined Eddie Cartwright on the sidelines so there was was a start for Callum Harriett-Brown on the wing and Cameron Ramsden played at centre.
A large crowd greeted both sides in glorious sunny, conditions and the pitch was perfect. From the first whistle it was obvious this was going to be a bruising battle. Heath were definitely up for the encounter and the slow starting home team could not cope with the initial onslaught.
Heath drew first blood after five minutes when veteran winger Si Brown completed a move with an unconverted try in the corner.
The home side could not cope with the onslaught and infringed on numerous occasions. Hinchliffe’s penalty, after good work from Richard Brown and Jason Merrie, made it 8-0.
York had two players sin binned in quick succession and Hinchliffe made it 11-0 but uncertainty from the re-start allowed York to gain possession and score in the corner.
Heath could not take further advantage, despite battering the home defence, and once restored to full strength York made it 10-11 from a break on 33 minutes.
A super run from Peter Birkett saw him held up short of the line before the supporting Heath pack enabled Merrie to touch down. Hinchliffe’s conversion made it 18-10 at the end of a half they had dominated.
York came up with a different plan. Their backs began to hold on to the ball and stretch the visitors defence. Only a superb covering tackle from Merrie prevented a try.
York had a glaring penalty miss but their pressure produced a third unconverted try on 58 minutes.
York were reduced to 14 players again and Heath cashed in. A clever cross field kick from Jack Crabtree was collected by Sam Pollard. He off-loaded to the supporting Lee Brown, who sent the supporting Jordan Moana over on 66 minutes. Hinchliffe’s kick made it 15-25.
Si Brown was sin binned for a high tackle and Lee Brown and Alex McFadden made telling contributions to keep York at bay. As the game became fractious, Richard Brown was sin-binned and a York player was held up over the line.
With five minutes left the pressure told and York scored a bonus point, converted try, to pull the score back to 22-25.
York were ruthless and in a frantic finale they levelled the scores before kicking the ball dead from the re-start to end a magnificent game.