Heath fall short in hard-fought clash

Craig Heppenstall of Heath makes a break
Craig Heppenstall of Heath makes a break

Heath 6 Malton & Norton 18

Heath were unable to gain revenge for their Yorkshire Shield walloping at the hands of Malton & Norton as the visitors took the spoils in their Yorksahire One clash.

Stephen Hare was a withdrawal as he struggled to recover from a foot injury so backrow Jack Blackhall stepped up from the bench to join fellow debutante wing Craig Heppenstall with Will Sellars starting his first game after coming on from the bench for the last two matches. Alex Cust came on to the bench to complete the Heath line-up.

Heath quickly got into their stride with Blackhall and Ryan Hunter making telling contributions. However, it was the visitors who got the first points with their first attack when Heath gave a penalty away and Sizwe Zondo converted for 3-0 after 14 minutes.

After an even contest, Darren Neilly, Heath’s ccting captain in the absence of Mark Puttick, was sin-binned. Heath produced a much more determined effort epitomized by a sterling tackle by Si Brown on Zondo to break down a Malton attack.

It looked as though Heath had survived having only 14 men on the field but with 30 seconds of sin-bin time remaining Malton opened up the home defence and Zondo went over in the corner for a try which he also converted.

Heath stormed back and Rob Thackray and Cameron Ramsden made telling runs. The Malton fullback, Zwelakhe Sodladla, was then sin-binned and Ezra Hinchliffe kicked the penalty to peg the score back to 10-3 on 31 minutes. As half time approached, Gleeson again set up an attack and as Malton struggled to defend they gave away another penalty and Hinchliffe obliged to make it 10-6.

Malton began the second half strongly but Heath were up for this game and with Anthony Darling, Sellars and Cust, on for Blackhall, making telling tackles, Hunter and Hamish Pratt winning good lineout ball and Neilly and Olly Cook making their marks, the visitors knew they were in a game. Unfortunately, over-enthusiasm from Cust saw him sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. Zondo missed the penalty after which Chris Heppenstall came on for Darling.

Hinchliffe was now beginning to dictate things but with Cust waiting to re-join the game a penalty from Zondo increased Malton’s lead to 13-6 on 56 minutes.

A superb run from Heppenstall set up Heath’s next attack and this was followed up with a kick and chase but the ball went dead. From the re-start, Malton gave away a penalty but the opportunity was missed.

Heath continued to batter the Malton defence with Cook, Sellars, Pratt and McFadden all making good yardage. A huge clearance from Malton went dead beyond the Heath try-line but from the 22 metre re-start, Heath gifted the ball to Malton and conceded an unconverted try.

With time running out, Sellars was sin-binned and this seemed to spur on the home side. Brown made a splendid run following a kick through from Neilly and Heppenstall was just short of scoring a try.