Heath grind out narrow win at Salem

Jack Crabtree clears his lines
Jack Crabtree clears his lines

Bradford Salem 14 Heath 19

Rather wet conditions greeted Heath at Bradford Salem for this Yorkshire One clash.

Salem kicked off and immediately put Heath under pressure with their pack dominating for the first 10 minutes.

Heath withstood this early pressure with Josh White, Howard Hanks and Ian Downsborough prominent, until their first real attack came on 12 minutes, from a lineout.

Scrum half Dominic Walsh fed fly-half Jack Crabtree but his pass to Hinchliffe was adjudged forward with a try beckoning.

Heath were playing a much more controlled game now as both sides contested for the opening score and the first opportunity came to Heath on 20 minutes.

Salem were penalized for pulling down in the lineout but, unfortunately, Hinchliffe’s kick was just wide of the posts.

Salem came back but Birkett was steady at fullback and cleared the danger.

Heath stormed back with Darren Neilly and Mark Puttick punching holes in the Salem defence.

A cross-kick from centre Ben Hinsley set Si Brown up for a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but Heath had nosed in front 0–5 on 28 minutes.

At the re-start, Heath seemed to have switched off and Salem captain Andy Robinson waltzed over for a try which was converted by Danny Belcher for Salem to lead 7–5 after half an hour.

Heath needed to respond and several players made important yardage before, from a resulting penalty, Heath nailed a lineout in the Salem corner on 37 minutes.

With the home side under pressure, Salem’s wing Sam Savage was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and from the scrum Heath’s Chris Piper scored a well-deserved try which Hinchliffe converted to put Heath in front 7–12.

The start of the second half saw Heath’s pack dominant and dictating play with Salem having no answer.

From a great pass out to Hinsley and Callum Harriott-Brown, the ball came back across the field involving Crabtree, Walsh and a basket-ball style pass to Si Brown for Heath’s free-scoring wingman to go over for his second try, converted by Hinchliffe to make it 7–19 on 48 minutes.

However, it was Salem who next turned up the pressure. Missed tackles allowed their wing Ryan Smith almost to the try line before he was ankle-tapped by Harriett-Brown but he managed to pop the ball up to his full-back Belcher who scored a converted try to make it 14–19 and all to play for.

From the re-start, Hinsley was sin-binned for an intentional knock-on when Heath were up against it.

Salem were on the attack and Heath were struggling, twice holding Salem up over the line as they held on for victory.