Heath make champs work hard

Ezra Hinchliffe and Gaz Webb against DoncasterEzra Hinchliffe and Gaz Webb against Doncaster
Ezra Hinchliffe and Gaz Webb against Doncaster
Heath pushed unbeaten Yorkshire One champions Doncaster Phoenix all the way before losing their final home match of the season 20-15 yesterday.

With numerous players missing they appeared to face a damage-limitation exercise at wet and windy North Dean.

However, they finished the afternoon delighted with a performance which might have been worth more than just a losing bonus point.

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Doncaster took the lead with a sixth minute penalty from in front of the posts.

Scrum half Dom Walsh made a couple of good runs as Heath began to apply pressure. Hamish Pratt won lineout ball and Chris Piper who got Walsh, Ezra Hinchliffe and Gareth Webb on the move before the referee brought play back for offside. Hinchliffe levelled the scores with a penalty on 17 minutes as the rain returned.

Doncaster made a break and scored a converted try in the corner against the run of the play to lead 10-3 on 23 minutes.

The floodgates looked set to open when, despite the efforts of Si Brown, a slipped pass brought a second converted try two minutes to give Phoenix a 17-3 lead.

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Undeterred, Heath came back. Darren Neilly won lineout ball and several phases followed with Pratt, Olly Cook and Rondene Johnson involved before Doncaster gave away a penalty which Hinchliffe kicked on 32 minutes.

The fly-half added another three points at the end of a solid and satisfactory first half display from Heath.

The hosts resumed brightly with a kick through from Brown but the referee brought play back. Emlyn James and Cook were having an impact for Heath but again the visitors broke away and were denied a try when the referee ruled that there had been a forward pass.

Eddie Cartwright chased a lofted kick from Walsh and tackled a Doncaster player in mid-air, for which he was sin-binned.

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Replacement Sam Pollard’s break set up another Heath attack. Doncaster were making mistakes and beginning to look there for the taking.

After a mix-up on 68 minutes, Cook picked up smartly and set off on a long run for the try line but the cover came across and he was stopped 10 metres out.

Heath continued to press and Hinchliffe added penalties on 73 and 77 minutes to cut the gap to two points.

Caught up with the atmosphere, Piper offended and was sin-binned. Doncaster pressed forward and completed the scoring with a penalty from in front of the posts.

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