Heath give dominant performance

Heath under 17s totally dominated their League Division One encounter at Harrogate, running out 71-0 winners.

From the Harrogate kick off, Heath collected safely, and then conventionally had several forward drives. The eager Heath backs quickly spread the ball wide and, after some text book ‘draw and pass’ handling, released Lewis McKensie with a 35 yard dash to touch down in the corner.

Slick handling then released Luke Matthews close to the touch line, on half way, and he outpaced the cover defence to finish off under the sticks, for an easy conversion by Ezra Hinchliffe as Heath posted 12 points in as many minutes.

Harrogate finally took possession of the ball and for 10 minutes they pressurised the Heath line. Magnificent defence from the whole Heath team, including a crucial turnover by captain Stephen Hare and some great clearance kicks by Jack Crabtree, defused this strong period of play by the hosts.

The game then entered a period of Heath possession but with several knock-ons and forward passes the visitors struggled to progress until the ball finally flowed out to centre Jack Sheldrake who glided through the Harrogate defence from 50 yards out to score near the posts. Hinchliffe landed the conversion for 19-0.

From the kick off, Hare collected the ball and off loaded to the rampaging Kofi Brobbey, who set up the perfect ruck for the speedy pass of Peter Birkett to hit standoff Hinchliffe who chipped over the Harrogate backs, collected the ball and sprinted to the posts to create an easy conversion for himself and open the advantage to 26-0 at the break.

The forwards and especially the front row of Lewis Foxton, James Wilkinson and Mathew Dinsdale, started to put ever more pressure on the Harrogate scrum and taking a further two balls against the head created a dominant platform for the Heath backs to express themselves in the wide open space. This resulted in a try for Ben Corney-Critchley with two points added by Hinchliffe.

More open play and creative running by Jonathan Porritt resulted in an attacking scrum in front of the Harrogate posts. Hare picked up and went blind, fed Birkett who powered past the defence for a try, converted by Jonathon Porritt. Then a superb piece of uninterrupted passing between nine players resulted in Birkett hitting a superb angle for his second try converted by Hinchliffe.

Heath were now playing with real flare and confidence and created the space for an elusive and powerful run by Will Colbeck to score in the corner, again converted by Hinchliffe to bring up the half century. Quick thinking Stephen Hare then took a tap penalty, catching the defence off guard, broke several tackles and off loaded to James Chin who finished off in the corner. From the kick off Brobbey collected and powerfully burst through the Harrogate line to set up a sound platform for the backs to draw and pass again down the line for Colbeck to take his second try in the corner

With minutes remaining and the ball going through several pairs of hands, including Brad Davies who had worked tirelessly all afternoon, the ever present and barnstorming George Smith powered over near the uprights again with Hinchliffe converting.

Halifax Academy Colts battled hard and showed great team spirit to beat a spirited Sandal side 10-5 at Ovenden Park.

This was always going to be a close encounter as both sides shared similar form and initial exchanges proved that.

Sandal scored first after 20 minutes when Halifax made a mess of their own lineout. The ball was played back and looked fine but bounced awkwardly for the Sandal second row forward to break through the line and score.

Five minutes later Sandal kicked deep into the Halifax half only to be caught by full back Christian Heyhoe who made a trademark run beating several players and gaining valuable yards to put Halifax back on the front foot. However, Sandal defended well to hold onto their slender 5-0 lead at the break.

Halifax started the second half strongly and were soon rewarded when a probing kick by Charles Hyland deep into the Sandal 22 found the full back hesitant and centre Niall McSharry capitalised to race through and kick the ball towards the try line before touching down.

Both sides exerted pressure with little joy before Halifax fly half Dominic Georgiou kicked toward the Sandal corner which was brilliantly chased down by Frazer Ambrose forcing the Sandal winger to kick hurriedly into touch.

This gave Halifax a line out on the Sandal 10 yard line which was executed with clinical precision by Charles Hyland who secured the ball to set up a driving maul. This was one of the best pieces of forward play in the whole game and was crowned with Elliot Mercer scoring a try.

This set up an anxious last five minutes as Sandal piled on the pressure but Halifax remained resolute to hang on and secure their third win in a row.

Much more junior rugby in Thursday’s Halifax Courier