Wood wins it again for Brods

Muddy hell: Ian Downsborough for Heath on Saturday
Muddy hell: Ian Downsborough for Heath on Saturday

Dan Wood inflicted more misery on Heath when his penalty out of the mud in the game’s last act gave Old Brodleians an 18-17 victory in yesterday’s Yorkshire One derby.

In appalling conditions at Hipperholme, the ball was blown off the tee as the Brods player prepared to strike it for the all-important penalty.

A couple of Heath players charged from the try line but were sent back by young referee Adam Carter, who then advanced the kick 10 metres when a visiting players spoke out of turn.

That could have made all the difference as number 15 Wood managed to slot the kick from a soup-like surface.

The outcome confirmed Brods’ status as number two to Old Crossleyans in the local pecking order but Heath were left wondering how they had managed to lose twice to their rivals in little more than three months.

Heath had the upper hand for much of the first meeting in October but lost to the only points of the match - a Wood penalty on 73 minutes.

The pitch had been turned into a quagmire by lunchtime rain for Saturday’s rematch and it appeared that the winners would be the team scoring most points in their 40 minutes playing down the Woodhead slope.

Heath managed 17 in the opening 30 minutes courtesy of two tries from Jack Sheldrake and seven points from the boot of stand off Ezra Hinchliffe.

Promising young centre Sheldrake took only four minutes to open his account in front of a 200-plus crowd, rounding a defender in a 30 metre run to the line.

Hinchliffe converted and Brods, settling into damage limitation mode, held the visitors at bay for another 21 minutes with the help of a couple of decent clearances from Wood.

However, their task became more difficult when they lost winger Eddie Carter to the sin-bin for obstruction as the Heath backs threatened.

Heath accepted three points from a penalty, after going close from Hincliffe’s clever grubber kick to the posts, and then a greater reward from Sheldrake’s converted try on 31 minutes.

Brods not only managed to stem the tide but scored a crucial five points of their own four minutes before the break.

A lineout win and rolling maul produced a try for Tongan prop Loma Kivalu and the home side might have had further success from No 8 Rob Jennings’ scrum break and kick ahead from half-way.

Home scrum half Josh Allen looked favourite to get to the ball first but was badly obstructed and took the law into his own hands, prompting a melee and a reversal of the penalty.

Wood somehow managed to strike a 35 metre penalty for an 8-17 scoreline two minutes after the break and as the heavens opened again Brods made progress on the back of a string of penalties.

They narrowed the gap to two points on 56 minutes when Kivalu charged down an attempted clearance and the ball fell nicely for him to pick up and add a swallow dive finish.

Wood converted and Brods pressed for a winning score with many of the mud-covered players now indistinguishable. Heath tackled manfully while Brods did their utmost to hang on to the ball.

With two minutes to go Brods were awarded a scrum penalty just outside the 22 and Wood, now at stand off following a major reshuffle of Brods backs at half-time, stepped up.

The ball went barely half the distance to the posts but Wood seized his next opportunity and the final whistle sounded immediately.