Rugby round-up: Heath return to top but defeats for other Calderdale sides

Heath secured a 26-18 bonus point win at Consett and returned to the top of the league.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 24th January 2022, 9:26 am
Consett v Heath
Consett v Heath

Heath had to make several changes once again with Olly Cook, Eddie Cartwright and Matt Beasty missing from last week along with the continued absence of Ben Stringer, Dan Cole, Alex McFadden and Harry Woollard.

Paul Turner and Saif Boussadda had starts and new signing Alex Bull made his debut at fly half. Joe Morrison also returned with Gareth Hall reverting to the bench alongside George Heron and the returning Jason Merrie just arrived from New Zealand.

Consett have found life in the league difficult, having won only one game all season, but they had the perfect start to the game when, from the kick off, Heath conceded a penalty and the conversion saw the home side lead 3-0.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Consett v Heath

Heath responded immediately and were clinical when Matt Hallett slipped a pass to Jack Pilcher in the Heath 22.

His pass to Tom Owen saw the centre make yardage before releasing speed merchant Elliott Spiers who ran half the length of the field before slipping a pass to the supporting Joe Morrison and he went over under the posts for a super try, converted by Alex Bull, and Heath led 7-3 with seven minutes played.

Consett came back strongly, stretching Heath's defence, but they could not find a way through and frequently made mistakes at vital times when a score was on the cards.

Good work from Jonny Cole, Tom Owen and Saif Boussadda enabled Heath to press for another score and Joe Morrison went close for a second try. On the half hour mark Tom Owen had to leave the field with a knock to the head so Gareth Hall entered the field.

Old Crossleyans v Selby. Joe Gallagher

At this point Consett were once again pressing for a score and on 35 minutes were rewarded with a second penalty to reduce the arrears, 7-6. With half time approaching Heath managed to score a second try.

From a scrum, Joe Shipman broke and released Gareth Hall and his slick pass to Elliott Spiers saw the wingman dance in under the post for a converted try and a lead of 14-6 as the whistle was sounded for the end of the half.

Although leading, Heath had found the home side putting up strong resistance and coach Harry needed to re-vitalise his side. Joe Shipman made way for Jason Merrie as the second half began, with Heath on the charge and as the home defence struggled to contain the Heath forwards, Fergus Marsden popped up with a deserved try, converted by Bull, and a lead of 21-6 looked comfortable with 50 minutes played.

An injury to Jonny Cole saw Shipman return but Consett, much to their credit, had forced their way back into the game and were rewarded with a converted try on 55 minutes, 21-13, and game on.

Old Brods v Cleckheaton. Photo: Robin Sugden. Phil Town

Heath's response was immediate and from a scrum 20 metres out the Heath pack drove forwards and Jack Pilcher scored the bonus point try 26-13 with a quarter of the game left to play.

Heath were now in control and Spiers once again went close for a score. George Heron replaced Paul Turner, who had put in a solid stint, as Heath went in search of another score but, once again, Consett battled back and scored a try to reduce the arrears, 26-18, and they now went in search of a losing bonus point with time running out.

Heath defended strongly and wound the game down and as the final whistle sounded the large contingent of Heath supporters were happy with yet another win.

For coaching duo, Harry and Sid, this was their 150 game in charge and they were rewarded with a hard fought victory from their charges against a resilient Consett side.

Old Brods v Cleckheaton. Photo: Robin Sugden. Elliott Craven

With other results going their way Heath sit top of the league.

Heath Seconds won 26-19 at Morley.

In an even first half, Heath worked hard against the elements to get into the game. Jack Raby, Oliver Cooke and Martyn Barnes carried well and punched holes in the defence. Olly Scrimshaw and Si Brown were combining and organising well, to get the visitors on the front foot. Both wingers went close to opening the scoring, Tobias Hinchliffe bundled into to touch and debutant Eddie Sunter only halted by a last-ditch tackle.

The forwards were setting a formidable platform lead by Mark Puttick and Ian Downsborough, using all their experience to get the team moving forward. After impressive stints, Emlyn James and James Whitworth rotated with Sam Sharp and Silla Bryan, both continued the good work in attack and defence. The deadlock was finally broken when Cooke hit a great line to score from 20 metres out, Ben Gianotti converted. Shortly after scoring Cooke came off with an arm injury to be replaced by Oli Burbidge. Heath continued to pressure the line but no more scores were added. Half time 0-7.

With the wind at their backs, Heath needed to play in the right areas, Barnes was replaced by Whitworth. Early in the second half Heath kicked long, after some confusion and a poor clearance kick, Raby caught the ball and crashed over from close range for a converted try. Sharp carried well from the restart, continued on well by Burbidge to set up the next attack.

From a massive clearance kick by Cooke, the fullback fumbled to gift Heath an attacking scrum. Heath attacked well on the short side with impressive hands feeding Jack Bruce for the try of the game. After more pressure the impressive Brown scattered defenders from a crash ball to register the visitors fourth try, Gianotti converted.

Max Rowntree continues to impress, linking the forwards and backs, making important defensive hits alongside his sniping runs. Barnes returned for Brown and James replaced Downsborough after his impressive stint. Morley continued to probe and had their best spell at the end of the game, registering three tries to close the gap. Full time 19-26.

This was an impressive victory against a strong home side who never gave in. Heath’s defence and resilience alongside their obvious quality registered a great win. Special mention to man of the match Silla Bryan who improves weekly and is developing into a real asset in the front row. This was the best team performance of the season, a great game before next week's derby game in Copley.

Old Crossleyans served up another close encounter against a purposeful, powerful Selby side, winning 15-9.

The game delivered no tries, instead being a forwards battle with both teams asking questions in defence.

Fortunately, it was the Crocs’ defence which won out coupled with the hallmark marksmanship of Joe Gallagher’s kicking that eventually made the difference.

The first half started with the Crocs dominating territory and possession but they were unable to pierce the Selby defence, despite strong close drives from Billy Hammond and Ruben Pollard.

The strong Selby scrum over powered the home teams’ ball and quickly momentum was with Selby with the Crocs only earning three points from their sustained attack.

Selby then ran though their phases bombarding the crocs line but the resolute Crocs defence stayed strong.

Selby then earned a string of penalties and much to everyone’s surprise chose not to deploy their powerful scrum from close out to the Crocs try line.

Thankfully Crocs defended well and managed to clear their lines.

The game then became one of attrition with both teams kickers exchanging penalty chances, with Joe Gallagher making it two from two but Selby also taking two, making the score even at half-time.

The second half saw very much the same pattern with both teams showing resolute defence with shared territory and possession.

The Selby lineout though was proving to be their achilleas heel preventing them from building momentum and their lost possession being punished by the Crocs 10 Joe Gallagher.

The Crocs were further spurred by a strong performance from the returning Cameron Brannan who proved to be a handful for the Selby defence.

With both teams in deadlock, it was down to the kickers to make the difference.

Fortunately, the Crocs discipline held out and Joe Gallagher slotted all but one of his penalty chances taking the final score to 15-9 which sealed the double against Selby.

Old Brods lost 16-10 at home to Cleckheaton.

Brods kicked off downhill and it was the visitors who showed their intent with an energetic opening to the game.

From their first attack to the left hand corner they looked certain to score, however Brods scrambled defence covered the break and Callum Bacon made a try saving tackle.

Brods worked their way into the game and Jimmy Hodkinson made a good break, passing to Adam Sutcliffe down the left. Sutcliffe made further ground and put Dom Georgiou clear, however the pass was adjudged to be forward.

Brods were now camped in Cleckheaton territory and the pressure was rewarded with a penalty, however the kick was wide.

Cleck took the game back to Brods and were themselves were rewarded with a penalty for offside which was converted by Dale Breakwell to give them a 3-0 lead after 18 minutes.

The game ebbed and flowed and Brods camped on the visitors line, two line outs drives were defended by the Cleck forwards and the attack was repelled with a turnover under the Cleckheaton posts.

Brods continued to dominate possession within Cleckheaton territory, however could not break the visitors' tenacious defence.

Eventually the pressure told as the ball was moved to the right from centre field. Phil Town cut a good line of attack to split the defence and touch down near to the posts. With the conversion by Town, Brods held the lead 7-3.

With half time approaching Cleck were in possession just outside the Brods 22 and Breakwell took his chance to add three points with a well taken drop goal.

As the second half opened Cleck were attacking down the right and following a well taken line out and drive, the ball was moved left along the back line. The opportunity looked to have been lost when the man in possession stumbled, however the ball was regathered and moved to the left wing where Dom Branaghan dived to score in the corner and Cleck had an 11-7 lead.

It was now the visitors' turn to control possession and territory, going close once more in the left hand corner.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Branaghan scored again in the corner, making it 16-7 to the visitors.

Brods fought back with some good interplay and once more took the game deep into the visitors' territory. They were rewarded with a penalty under the posts and Town took the three points on offer to narrow the gap to 10-16.

Brods continued to press until the final whistle, however the resolute Cleckheaton defence held on for a deserved victory.

Rishworthians were well beaten 33-5 by a Goole side who looked anything but bottom two strugglers.

Goole made few mistakes and were quick and decisive while the home men, for all their possession, lacked any spark likely to unlock a sound defence.

Every time they got near the visitors’ line they were penalised and constantly infringed at the breakdown.

It was surprising because of a brilliant display the previous week to win at Selby, and team manager Mark Witchell summed it up, saying: “As good as we were last week, we were as bad this time.”

Rishworthians' best rugby came in the first five and last five minutes and in the rest they looked every inch second best.

In the opening minutes they put Goole under pressure until the visitors broke out and a couple of missed tackles saw them run in a converted try.

Rishworthians hit back and Joe Billing, filling in at scrum half, went close before a movement started with a clever break by Josh Kelly almost got rewards for young winger Lewis Taylor.

It led to a yellow card for a Goole player, but Rishworthians were unable to take advantage of the extra man and were caught out when a loose ball was gathered to bring a second, unconverted Goole try.

More and more unforced errors crept into Rishworthians’ game and penalties saw them having to defend deep in their own 22 and they were unable to stop a third, unconverted, try from a catch and drive.

Taylor was yellow carded for a tackle in the air and Goole took advantage to score a fourth and bonus point try. It was unconverted but gave them a 22-0 half-time lead.

Early in the second half Kelly got a yellow card for a high tackle and from the resulting penalty the lead was further stretched to 25-0 and then even further with another penalty.

Rishworthians continued to make more and more errors and were unable to stop a fifth Goole try as the visiting forwards rampaged to the line.

The only solid part to the home game was in the scrums, but even then they managed to kick the ball back twice having looked to have secured it.

Only in the last five minutes did they start to get things together and Taylor had three chances to race to touch down from kicks, managing to spectacularly touch down one of them in the corner for Rishworthians’ only points.

The development team had a fine 49-3 win at Huddersfield. Tries were scored by Finn Sutcliffe, Boguscz Dziel, Will Scrimshaw, Anthony Shoesmith, Luke Sutcliffe, Charlie Walker and George Blame, who also added two conversions along with four from Finn Sutcliffe and another from Cameron Duffy.