Heath beat Middlesbrough to reach Yorkshire Shield final

Heath v Middlesborough''Dan Cole and Chris Robinson
Heath v Middlesborough''Dan Cole and Chris Robinson

Heath hit back from 17-5 down to beat visitors Middlesbrough 37-17 at North Dean and leave the success of their season hinging on two finals.

Yesterday’s contest was their last Yorkshire One game of the campaign and doubled as a Yorkshire Shield semi-final.

Dave Harrison’s men had already clinched the runners-up berth in Yorkshire One and they will have a promotion showdown against West Hartlepool at the end of the month followed by a Shield final date with either champions Moortown or Old Brodleians.

Heath brought back Chris Robinson, Tobias Hinchliffe, Si Brown and Ezra Hinchliffe and Chris Piper with Eddie Cartwright, Callum Harrriett-Brown, Luke Saltonstall and Jack Crabtree absentees.

The Heath forwards were quickly into their stride and Alex Patrick released Michael Reynolds, who was bundled into touch with a try beckoning.

Matt Beasty stole lineout ball and the pressure was maintained, Heath driving over the line for Patrick to open the scoring on six minutes.

Middlesbrough came back strongly and centre Matthew Todd kicked a penalty.

The visitors were mounting waves of attacks and went 10-5 up after 25 minutes when Dan Cole’s clearance to half-way was collected by winger Harry Bryce, who danced his way through several attempted tackles before going under the posts. Todd converted.

Home supporters’ concerns grew when Middlesbrough stretched their advantage to 12 points on 35 minutes, Conner Foley evading several tackles and Todd adding the easy goal.

Heath needed to hit back before half-time and excellent work from Robinson and Dave Skinner helped earn three points from a Cole penalty.

Another seven points was added following a solid scrum when Robinson’s inside pass allowed Issy Spooner to go over for a converted try.

The first half had belonged to Middlesbrough but Heath had managed to keep in the game and they started the second half strongly, helped by a superb Cole kick which bounced into touch.

However, the home side needed patience to prise open the visitors defence and finally, on 55 minutes, Fergus Marsden went over for a converted try and Heath led 22-17.

A yellow card for Heath’s Jonny Cole seemed to inspire Middlesbrough but Heath held firm and a charging run from Jason Merrie led to consecutive penalties for Heath, Dan Cole increasing the lead to 25-17.

Merrie was injured but the returning Jonny Cole scooped up the ball to score on 70 minutes and take Heath clear.

Middlesbrough would not lie but were undone by the best try of the game as Heath threw the ball around before Spooner touched down for the bonus point fourth try, converted by Cole.