Thackray clinches fine Heath win

No 8 Ian Downsborough scores for Heath at York
No 8 Ian Downsborough scores for Heath at York

Heath followed up their runaway home win over Pontefract a week earlier with a 20-7 success at York in Yorkshire One yesterday.

While games involving other Calderdale clubs were washed out, the North Dean men found conditions at the sixth-placed club surprisingly good and they took the opportunity to further ease their relegation fears.

Heath drafted in Sam Pollard, Cameron Ramsden and Alex McFadden for Jack Sheldrake, Matt Hallett and Olly Cook respectively while James Watson returned to the bench alongside Zac Dewhirst.

York kicked off up the slope with the wind at their backs and it was seven minutes before the visitors got out of their own 22.

Rob Thackray, Ian Downsborough and Stephen Hare were prominent with solid tackling and ion 17 minutes Heath mounted their first attack when Ewan Miller made a 40 metres run, backed up by Darren Neilly.

York’s strong kicking game got them back on the attack but Matt Baxendale eventually cleared and Heath replied through Ezra Hinchliffe and winger Thackray, who was bundled into touch.

Hinchliffe, Baxendale and Ramsden were involved as Heath pressed for a score but York drew first blood through open side Kerr from a rolling maul on 30 minutes, fly-half Young converting.

York’s pack was dominating at this stage so Watson came on for McFadden for a short burst and made an immediate impact, he and Mark Puttick making ground.

Further runs and rolling mauls took Heath to near the try line. Dominic Walsh was held up with the ball but Hinchliffe made it 7-3 with a penalty for offside.

When Stephen Hare was injured just before half time, Olly Wily came on.

Heath attacked the start of the second half with Thackray, Puttick and Downsborough on the charge and they were twice unable to ground the ball over the try line.

Eventually, Downsborough scored an unconverted try on 46 minutes to give Heath the lead.

On 58 minutes Kerr was sin-binned and Heath grabbed their chance, Darren Neilly scoring from a scrum. The kick was blown wide.

Watson replaced McFadden for a second time but Heath had to defend resolutely. Pollard went off injured with seven minutes left and the game was tense with Heath having to battle hard.

A Hinchliffe drop-goal attempt fell just short but Ramsden collected from the restart and ran brilliantly before passing to Chris Moore. The prop made a mazy run and sent Thackray in for the clincher, converted by Hinchliffe.

Dewhirst almost added to the visitors’ tally in added time after Hinchliffe’s great run.

This was another superb team effort from Heath, showing their ability to recover from a succession of narrow defeats earlier in the season.