Rugby round-up: Calderdale clubs return to action after Christmas break
Heath returned to action after an enforced break with a 22-7 win at Malton and Norton.
Missing from the squad were Paul Turner and Jack Pilcher so in came Mark Puttick and George Heron. Olly Cook had a starting berth as did Saif Boussadda with Matt Beasty taking a turn on the bench.
The home side were looking to complete the double after winning at North Dean back in September. Following a heavy downpour throughout the morning both teams took to the pitch in fine sunny conditions as Malton kicked off.
Early exchanges saw Heath in control of the line-outs as both sides adapted to the heavy conditions underfoot but it was the home side who tested the Heath defence as they began to control the ball and they were rewarded with a converted try after 15 minutes to take the lead 7-0.
Heath needed to respond and following a superb run from Tom Owen the ball came out to the supporting Matt Hallett who skipped passed a couple of attempted tackles to go over for a try and a score of 7-5 with 18 minutes played.
The game was very open as both teams tested each other but it was the home side who were looking the more dangerous with some astute kicking to set up more opportunities to increase their lead.
Heath needed a spark and when Eddie Cartwright slipped a pass to wingman Callum Harriott-Brown a try looked on the cards as he jinked his way around the home defence but Malton's covering defence managed to stop the wingman. The danger was not over for Malton as Heath went in search of another score and Saif Boussadda was prominent as he powered forwards before releasing Tom Owen who slipped a pass to the supporting Dom Walsh and he ran in for a second try and a lead of 10-7 on the half hour mark was fully justified.
The game was end to end as Malton looked to set up opportunities with some clever kicking but it was Heath who finished on top and following a line out won by Boussadda the forwards drove towards the home sides try line.
The ball came out to Cartwright whose cross-field kick to the corner saw Elliott Spiers pounce but the home side defence had just enough to snaffle the chance as the wingman was bundled into touch and the referee blew for half time.
Boussadda made way for Matt Beasty as coach Harry fired up his charges but the start of the second half saw a nasty clash between Matt Hallett and the Malton centre which resulted in Hallett leaving the field with Harry Woollard coming on to the wing and Elliott Spiers moving to full back.
The game once again became very even as both sides battled it out in search of a score. Eddie Cartwright was prominent putting in several astute kicks to set up Heath as Woollard and Owen went close to scoring.
However, a loose ball played on the half way line saw the home side kick forwards to the Heath try line and a score looked on the cards before Cartwright intervened touching down. The following scrum was won by Heath and the danger was cleared.
Play became scrappy as both teams tired in the heavy conditions and on the hour George Heron replaced Mark Puttick.
The change had immediate effect and following strong runs from Joe Morrison, Fergus Marsden and Olly Cook the ball eventually found Harry Woollard and the wingman went over for Heaths third try, converted by Cartwright, and the deadlock was broken, 17-7 with ten minutes remaining.
Heath now went in search of the bonus point try and, following an injury to Fergus Marsden, Saif Boussadda returned to the action.
Dom Walsh set up yet another Heath attack following a super kick to the corner and from the line out Heath secured ball and drove towards the home line but Malton stood firm before Callum Harriott-Brown sneaked in for the bonus point try with minutes remaining, 22-7.
Malton's response was immediate but Heath were determined not to let them score and when the final whistle sounded the visitors had secured a vital win.
This was a hard fought win for Heath against a Malton side who never gave up. The win sees Heath maintain a top three position in the league as they now focus on next weeks home encounter against in form Durham City.
Heath 2nds lost 31-0 at Moortown.
With late withdrawals it was clear Heath would need to keep a clean bill of health to compete against a home squad boosted by players from their first team. In a tight opening Heath started brightly with strong carries by Brook Ward and Jack Raby, Olly Scrimshaw kicked intelligently to relieve pressure.
Heath's defence was superb and frustrated the home side, the returning Si Brown hitting hard in midfield. Joe Shipman and Sam Sharp covered the field brilliantly searching for turnover ball.
Silla Bryan had a promising start to life as a prop and used his size in both attack and defence, displaying his potential.
Moortown opened the scoring with an unconverted try from close range, Heath came straight back and looked clear only for a forward pass to thwart Jack Bruce who was clean through. Ben Gianotti continues to grow into the fullback role and returned the ball confidently all afternoon, playing intelligently from the back.
Both sides had a couple of half chances but no scores were added before half time, 5-0.
Heath were in a game that could go either way, turning round at half time to come down the slope.
Moortown were able to to make five changes to their side, all of which made immediate impacts, combining to score their second try under the posts.
It was clear this was a different challenge for the away team, who never let their heads drop and battled superbly for forty minutes.
Max Rowntree made a great 30 metre break from a quick tap only to limp off with a reoccurring knee injury, Richard Cole replaced him.
Emlyn James continued to battle on and Bryan had to leave the field with a reshuffle required, Alex Taylor to the wing and skipper Tobias Hinchliffe bravely taking his place in the pack for uncontested scrums. Oliver Burbidge, James Whitworth and Tom Cockcroft all made superb try saving tackles.
Moortown’s now very lively backline scored three more tries. Heath continued to search for scores, Cole put Bruce clear, with same player unlucky not to get his score from another scrum move.
Man of the match Ward was enjoying a stable scrum with moves in the backline orchestrated by Scrimshaw working well, Brown and Gianotti punching holes in the defence. However, the score never materialised and Heath battled hard until the end.
A hard fought top of the table clash at Woodhead resulted in Brods' first defeat at home for nearly three seasons as they lost 10-19 against Ilkley.
In a game full of commitment both sides played through the poor conditions with some excellent ball handling however it was the outstanding defensive effort of the visitors which edged the game in their favour.
Playing up the slope in the first half ilkley played the slope well to score two tries in the first 20 minutes and these proved to be the crucial scores in an excellent contest of two sides who have been contesting in the top four for the first half of the season.
Ilkley took the early initiative dominating early possession and territory and after 16 minutes play they turned the ball over in midfield and it was moved swiftly to the left wing who cut inside to score near the posts and with the conversion had a 7-0 lead.
Brods responded well but could not make the best of their opportunities and it was a well taken high kick which was gathered by ilkley no 12 and the strong running centre ran hard to the line to finish under the posts for the visitors second try . the conversion was taken and a 14-0 lead.
The Woodhead boys stepped up their game with some strong running down the left by Jason Dodd and Michael Briggs, however the ilkley defence was good as the home side pressured the ilkley line.
After several minutes of desperate defence a quickly taken tap penalty by Hodkinson put ilkley on the back foot and the ball was moved swiftly to Phil town on the right wing who dived in at the corner for a well taken try. And a half time score line of 14-5.
Brods opened the second half handling well up the slope however when a loose ball was hacked deep into Brods territory Brods young second row forward James Millington had to chase back nearly 50 yards to regather under pressure to save the day.
It was Brods turn to defend now and they did well as the game ebbed and flowed and both sides showed great discipline to keep their respective lines intact.
As the game moved into the closing stages both sides were clearly tiring and it was ilkley who scored following a period of pressure in the Brods 22 and it was some good interplay which created the score and with the conversion striking the posts they held a 19-5 lead.
Brods were to have the last say as from the restart and a breakdown in play near the half way line Christian Georgiou regathered, spun and kicked ahead, he chased his own kick to the line and won the race to touch down to provide the final score.
Rishworthians did the double over West Leeds with a 23-13 win thanks to a dominant forward display.
It was only determined defence by the visitors that the scores remained close until near the end.
It meant Rishworthians were unable to shake them off completely and while dominating most of the game they kept allowing them back into it.
The home men started well and put the visitors under constant pressure. They thought they had scored but No 8 Gerard Rollings, who had an outstanding game, was adjudged held up.
Completely against the run of play the visitors broke out and a fine passing movement ended with centre Sam Marshall touching down. Cam Breakwell added the conversion.
Undeterred Rishworthians kept up the pressure and Rollings got over again, only to be denied for the second time.
They continued to batter the Leeds line until finally fullback Joe Billing forced his way over. Josh Kelly added the conversion to level the scores.
More pressure brought a successful penalty for Kelly and on the stroke of half-time he added another, resulting from a brilliant 25-metre rolling maul.
Leading 13-7 Rishworthians had expected to increase their lead in the second half, but were continually thwarted by the visitors, who on a rare foray into the home half got a penalty to reduce the arrears.
Right wing Oliver Marshall almost got in for the home side, but the ball was recycled across and a strong run by prop Harry Whitfield on his return to the club almost brought a score.
He was stopped just short of the line, but Kelly was able to pick up and dive over and then add the conversion.
Still the visitors would not lie down and added another penalty for a high tackle.
Despite that Rishworthians’ discipline was good and their defence was also good, exemplified by a strong tackle from young left wing Lewis Taylor on former rugby league star Mark Calderwood.
The home pack were now in complete charge, driving the visitors back in the scrums. Near the line they were denied a pushover try but gained a penalty and took another scrum, this time successfully with Rollings touching down to finally be given the try he deserved.
With time running out, Rishworthians strived for the bonus point try, but were unable to break through.
The development team lost 31-19 away to a strong Cleckheaton second string.
Rishworthians tries came from Fraser Swarbrooke, Richard Turner and Isaac Riley. Harry Doherty added two conversions.
Old Crossleyans returned from their winter break with a 37-11 win over Bradford Salem.
Dominating territory and possession early it was the Crocs who eventually registered their first score following neat inter-passing from their back three, leading to Josh Hunt creating space for the Crocs winger George Akroyd to race over in the corner. This was unconverted keeping the lead to 5-0.
Sam Ives managed to power over to register Crocs' second try, this was converted, taking the score to 10-0.
The Crocs didn’t let up and piled on the pressure which eventually led to a penalty and more crucially, a well taken interception from Matty Beswick who raced 30 metres before releasing Callum Dunne to score. This made the score 20-0 and things were looking ominous for Salem.
Despite this, it was Salem who then showed a resurgence and began to control the game through clever field kicking and preying on Crocs’ handling errors they soon won a penalty in kickable range taking the score to 20-3.
The momentum stayed with Salem which eventually led to a superbly worked try spanning 80 metres which had even the home fans in applause.
The try came from a scrum deep in the Salem half and with clever back play Salem released their right winger Jake Green who with Josh Hunt in pursuit managed to race 50 metres to score in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful taking the score to 20-8.
The second half started with Salem regaining the late first half momentum and piled on the pressure with their strong running forwards, coupled with clever territorial kicking.
The Crocs defence remained resolute though but eventual pressure told yielding a kickable penalty of which Salem converted, taking the score to 20-11.
The Crocs then succumbed to further ill-discipline when James Wainwright and Billy Hammond were awarded yellow cards in close succession. This took the home team down to 13 men.
The following spell was crucial for the Crocs as Salem definitely had the momentum and began to look more and more threatening, despite this, strong defence from Tom Metcalf and Sam Ives was just enough to ride this strong spell from Salem, who were playing some excellent rugby defying their league position. Against run of play the Crocs were awarded a kickable penalty of which Joe Gallagher converted, stretching the lead to 23-11.
The next appeared crucial as Salem had now grown into the game and posing a threat with ball in head, luckily it eventually came for the Crocs through George Ackroyd who following broken play showed individual brilliance to outwit several Salem defenders and race 15 metres to score in the corner.
The touch line conversion was added by Joe Gallagher, taking the lead to 30-11. The relief was palpable and the win now certain for the Crocs.
The home teams’ fitness now showed and despite another yellow card, this time Georg Akroyd the victim, the Crocs regained the ascendancy and added a late final try following neat interplay between Rob Faullkner and the ever-present scrum half Jack Lumb, who raced over from 20 metres to score.