Heath withstand Keighley fightback

Rob Thackray scores for Heath yesterday
Rob Thackray scores for Heath yesterday

Heath put more daylight between themselves and the bottom four in Yorkshire One - who all lost - with an 18-15 home win over Keighley.

Two tries in four minutes at the start of the second quarter helped them into a 15-0 lead and although next-to-bottom Keighley battled back, they needed a late try to grab a losing bonus point.

Heath withstood an early barrage, an Ezra Hinchliffe clearance and Ryan Hunter tackle helping to keep the visitors at bay before Hunter, Peter Birkett, Hinchliffe and Darren Neilly combined in possession for Heath.

Newcomer Duncan Edwards, at prop, was in the thick of things and Rob Thackray and Ewan Miller made good tackles as Keighley pressed again.

A series of kicks straight into touch by Keighley allowed the hosts to put together some moves.

A mis-pass from Hinchliffe set Si Brown off on a good run, with Chris Moore in support.

Thackray’s kick found touch and Hinchliffe opened the way for Mark Puttick but the captain was held inches short of the try-line. Moore was up in support and ready to score but Heath were pulled up for ‘crossing’ on 22 minutes.

Heath were ramping up the pressure. Stephen Hare and Cameron Ramsden timed passes beautifully, enabling Thackeray to score an excellent try under the posts which Hinchliffe converted.

The hosts made it two tries in quick success when Ramsden linked with Josh Lister, for the latter to touch down.

The conversion was missed but Hinchliffe’s penalty on the half hour put Heath in control at 15–0 after weathering the early storm.

As half time approached, a last-ditch tackle by Hare prevented a Keighley score and Hinchliffe managed to secure the ball and find touch.

Heath started the second half well but Puttick was floored by an off-the-ball tackle.

The visitors threw the ball about for Brown to go over in the corner, convert his try and put Keighley back in the game on 48 minutes.

Dominic Walsh replaced Birkett and made an immediate impact, picking up a loose ball to release Miller as the pace of the game stepped up.

On the hour, Danny McGee made a break from fullback for Keighley but Hare made a crucial interception and Keighley gave away a penalty.

The visitors’ strong-running wing Sam Walker intercepted. He was halted but Heath’s Zac Dewhirst was sin-binned and Brown’s penalty made it 15–10.

When Keighley were off-side on 65 minutes Hinchliffe kicked to the corner. Heath threw the ball about and won a penalty in front of the posts, Hinchliffe adding three points.

Keighley’s Brown was sin-binned and Heath’s Josh Lister went off injured before a period of intense play from both sides.

When a high tackle was penalised, Hinchliffe found touch deep in Keighley’s half on 75 minutes.

However, the visitors snatched a losing bonus point with a last-ditch, unconverted try by McGee.