Heartbreak for Heath in late defeat

Rob Thackray scores for Heath against Ilkley
Rob Thackray scores for Heath against Ilkley

Heath 11 Ilkley 13

Heath welcomed Ilkley to North Dean intending to put in a performance of note and land their first home Yorkshire One win of the season.

But their hopes were dashed when the visitors secured a late try to steal the points.

Captain Mark Puttick and influential flyhalf Ezra Hinchliffe were missing while centre Caysi Pearson, signed from Elland, made his debut and Olly Cook, Danny Ramsden and Matt Hallett came together for the first time since their days as Colts.

A young pack was looking for leadership from Olly Wilby and Ian Downsborough and, with Mick Gleeson filling in at standoff, the team had a rather makeshift look about it.

From the kick off Ilkley gave away a penalty but Pearson was just wide with his goal kick. This spurred the Visitors into action but excellent defence from Ewan Miller, Si Brown and Pearson ensured their backs could not penetrate. On 13 minutes Heath were awarded another penalty and this time Pearson obliged for 3-0.

The home side settled and Hallett and Ramsden linked well with scrum half Walsh also prominent before a mistake let Ilkley’s winger Johnson free but splendid covering from Hallett and Gleeson bundled him into touch just short of the line. Heath’s defence was being tested now and Wilby and Stephen Hare were doing sterling work as Heath battled to keep the visitors out.

Ilkley began the second half by nearly scoring a try, which was only prevented by a brave tackle from Cook on Renton. He lost the ball and Walsh sped away, kicking on for Si Brown, but Ilkley put the ball in touch.

From the lineout, Downsborough fed the backs and the ball went along the line for Rob Thackray to score an unconverted try in the corner for 8-0.

From the re-start, Neilly was penalised for coming in from the side and the kick for touch put Heath under pressure. They were penalised and scrum half Collard quickly ran the ball to score an unconverted try for Ilkley to reduce the arrears at 8-5.

Heath went back on the attack through Pearson and Neilly with Hallett supporting. Ilkley gave away a penalty, converted by Pearson, to lead 11-5 before Ilkley were awarded a penalty and they pulled the score back to 11-8.

The visitors were now beginning to sense victory. From a lineout on 58 minutes Renton took the ball but Ilkley were pulled up and the penalty enabled Heath to clear the lines.

A spell of excellent rugby from both sides followed as they tested each other. On 64 minutes, Downsborough picked up from a scrum, broke away and put Pearson through for what looked a certain try but the referee ruled the pass forward.

With 10 minutes remaining, Ilkley were attacking relentlessly and when they were offered a kick at goal they went for touch instead.

There was constant pressure but Heath defended gallantly with Downsborough holding an attacker up over the line. Gleeson missed touch with a clearance and Ilkley looked odds-on to score but a stray pass went into touch and Heath were spared.

With three minutes remaining, after continuous pressure from Ilkley, Heath found touch on the halfway line and appeared to have saved the day. However, it was not to be as with bodies scattered around, Ilkley broke clear and wingman Johnson scored an unconverted try to snatch victory.