Heath gave a clinical performance to beat visitors Keighley 36-13 in Yorkshire One yesterday, ending the visitors’ four-match winning run.
They had to draft in Michael Reynolds at scrum half following the late withdrawal of Peter Birkett (flu) and welcomed back influential Richard Brown to bolster the pack.
Jordan Bradbrook and Jason Merrie were also missing so Dave Skinner and Cameron Ramsden started and Sam Pollard returned to the bench alongside Martyn Barnes and Chris Piper.
Following a week of rain, sleet and snow the pitch was very heavy. Early exchanges were even but it was clear from the start that Heath’s pack had the upper hand.
With a Keighley player receiving treatment, Heath took the lead when Ian Downsborough took a pass from the excellent Reynolds one handed and drove towards the try-line before sending Seiffe Boussaada over for an unconverted score on eight minutes.
Keighley, who looked confident in possession, replied immediately. A clever cross-field kick was not dealt with by the Heath defence and a visiting winger pounced.
The conversion was missed but a penalty gave Keighley an 8-5 lead, only for Ezra Hinchliffe to make it 8-8 after 20 minutes.
A mistake from the re-start left Heath under pressure but the defence stood firm and when Jack Crabtree made a long clearance, Hinchliffe and Callum Harriett-Brown set off in pursuit.
Hinchliffe put in a tackle and as the ball fell free, Harriett-Brown scooped it up and went over for Heath’s second try, converted by Hinchliffe.
Heath were now a lot quicker to the ball and taking control. Superb drives from Brown, Downsborough and Piper set up chances and Crabtree went over for a converted try to extend the lead to 22-8.
Keighley tried to claw their way back but Heath were now dominant and a super kick from Hinchliffe set up their next attack.
Matt Beasty won the lineout, the forwards drove 20 metres and Chris Moore popped up for the bonus point try. The conversion made it 29-8 at half time.
Heath began the second half in control but could not break down a resilient Keighley defence until the 60th minute, Brown scoring following a scrum drive. Hinchliffe added the extras.
As conditions worsened there was a constant rotation of players from both sides, which affected the continuity of the game.
There was no way back for Keighley but they were rewarded with a try in the last minute.
The win kept Heath third behind leaders York, who lost their first game of the season at home to Middlesbrough, and second place Beverley, who were convincing winners at home to Moortown.