Heath hit half way against league leaders Doncaster

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Heath will hope to complete a largely disappointing first half to their Yorkshire One programme with a shock victory away to joint leaders Doncaster Phoenix tomorrow.

The North Dean men will go there buoyed by a six-try 39-15 success over mid-table North Ribblesdale in near perfect conditions at North Dean last Saturday.

It was only their second home league win of the season and they rounded it off in some style with a spectacular length-of-the-field try finished by Jack Sheldrake. It was converted from wide out by fellow young gun Ezra Hinchliffe.

Heath’s largely youthful line-up had led by only 18-15 with 14 minutes to go but swept clear with some excellent support play.

Lock Darren Neily, hard-working No 8 Hamish Pratt and powerful centre Sheldrake were players to particularly catch the eye.

Coach Kevin Plant was delighted with the performance and result.

“When our confidence is up we can play some good rugby,” he said. “Unfortunately we have lost some very tight matches this season, particularly at home.

“Ribb always give you a hard game - they do the basics right - and we have got a very, very young side.”

A further boost for Plant last Saturday was to escape injuries. Colt Rondene Johnson could come into contention for tomorrow while Pratt is likely to continue to deputise for Ian Downsborough, who is serving in Afghanistan until January.

Phoenix won narrowly at next-to-bottom Keighley six days ago and Plant said: “They are a strong side with some ex-National League players.”

Halifax Vandals coach Jamie Bloem is looking to dodge a fourth successive loss when the Warley side travel to York RI in Yorkshire Four.

Vandals lost out 33-13 to local rivals Halifax last weekend, a game Bloem admitted emphasised the difference between Mark Walton’s promotion hunters and a Vandals team still in the process of rebuilding.

“The gap between the teams was pretty substantial,” said Bloem, whose side trailed heavily at the break before ‘winning’ the second period 7-3.

“They’ve got some really good young players; lads like Gareth Matthews and Jack Fairbank who’ve both played rugby league at Halifax.

“The difference between those guys and a totally amateur player is quite significant.

“But we’re in a transitional phase and we know now what we have to do; we’ve played all the top sides and it’s only really Halifax who’ve shown us up.

“We’ve lost three on the bounce now and we don’t want to make it four at York tomorrow.”