Rugby round-up: Heath suffer disappointing loss but wins for Old Brods, Crocs and Rishies
Heath conceded two tries in the final minutes in a disappointing 22-10 loss at Driffield.
Heath were forced to make several changes to last week's team due to injury, work commitments and holidays when they travelled to second place Driffield in the game of the day in North 1 East.
In the forwards Mark Puttick came in for Jack Pilcher, work commitments, whilst the backs saw Matt Hallett and Luke Saltonstall return with Eddie Cartwright and Tom Owen both injured.
On the bench sat veteran Ian Downsborough alongside Olly Cook and new signing Harry Woollard. It should also be noted ex Heath player Danny Ramsden was in the Driffield side playing hooker.
A large crowd greeted the teams as they lined up for a minutes silence to commemorate the passing of a former Driffield captain Malcolm Clubley.
Heath kicked off playing with the wind at their backs and had the much better start as the home side struggled to contain the onslaught but Heath could not prise open a solid defence.
The first 20 minutes was enthralling as both sides adapted to the pace of the game but it was Driffield who scored first with an unconverted try after 22 minutes to lead 5-0.
Heath's response was immediate as they went in search of a score and following a darting run from Luke Saltonstall followed by slick interplay between Matt Hallett and Callum Harriett-Brown which saw Hallett cruise over the line for a converted try and Heath led 7-5 with 30 minutes played.
The game was now developing into a real battle, which enthralled the crowd, but despite losing Fergus Marsden to the bin there was no further score as the half time whistle sounded.
Olly Cook replaced Mark Puttick at the start of the second half and shortly after Marsden returned to the action and Luke Saltonstall made way for Harry Woollard.
Play became encamped either side of the half way line but the deadlock was broken on 55 minutes when Driffield converted a penalty to lead 8-7.
With 20 minute left to play the game was still there to be won by either team. Ben Stringer went on a surging run but was halted illegally by a Driffield player who was sent to the sin-bin and this was now a chance for Heath.
From the resulting penalty Heath opted for a scrum but lost the ball and the chance had gone.
Heath still continued to work hard for a score and the breakthrough came, with five minutes left on the clock, as Matt Hallett converted yet another penalty for the visitors to lead 10-8.
However, the lead was short lived as Driffield found a huge gap in the Heath defence to score under the posts to restore their lead 15-10 with the game now into added injury time.
Heath were not done and went in search of a try but a mistake on the half way line was pounced on by Driffield and in the last play of the game the home side ran in a third converted try for a final score of 22-10.
This was yet another enthralling game with both sides equal and the final score does not reflect how close the game was. Heath must now re-group and prepare for yet another huge game when they entertain derby rivals and league leaders Old Brodleians next week at North Dean.
Heath Seconds travelled with 15 fit players and came up against a very solid, well drilled Driffield team, losing 68-7.
After an even start and good drives by Emlyn James, Oli Burbidge, George Heron and Adam Milner, Heath couldn’t open the scoring. Driffield scored five tries without reply.
Just before half time Heath had their best spell, from a scrum ten metres out, Jack Bruce ran a great line off Max Rowntree to crash over near the posts. Young flyhalf Ben Gianotti added the conversion and nearly put captain and man of the match Tobias Hinchliffe away before the half-time whistle.
Driffield dominated the second half with injuries taking their toll on the visitors. Chris Metcalf on debut left the field with damaged ribs, James Whitworth (head), Oliver Burbidge (shoulder), & Owain Griffiths (head) all left the field and Driffield added five more tries.
Old Rishworthians’ try-fest in the first half turned into a try drought in the second as they beat Huddersfield YMCA 26-19.
Both sides scored three tries in the first 40 minutes and while the home side looked the most likely to add to the tally, all there was to show in the second period was Josh Kelly’s penalty and his late drop goal.
Rishworthians were ahead right from the start, but were never able to completely shake off the opposition, and spoiled their performance with a heavy penalty count.
They were on the scoreboard from the kick-off, regaining the ball and forcing a penalty for Kelly to give them a three-point lead.
There were more points soon after with a classy move which saw centre Andrew Esmond burst through and weave his way over.
The visitors soon hit back, fullback Sam Fletcher-Tennant, a former Rishworthians junior and YM’s best player by far, darted through to put wing Oliver Lightfoot over in the corner.
The home men were soon on the attack again, flanker Greg Withers and lock Callum Bell both driving through impressively into the YM 22. Several phases followed before the ball went out for centre Doug Heseltine to coast over.
Rishworthians looked good every time they passed the ball out wide and they were soon further ahead.
Flanker Ethan Pollard, who had another fine game, took a good lineout catch and Withers and No 8 Simanu Tusiga took the ball on before Kelly found Heseltine with a late run to glide through for his second try. Kelly added the points.
Rishworthians looked to be coasting, but penalties proved their undoing as YM hit back with their only potent force, the driving maul, and scored with a lineout catch and drive, hooker William Perfitt touching down. Michael Bray added the conversion.
Just before the break Fletcher-Tennant caught a clearance kick and ran through for a fine individual try. Bray converted to make the half-time score 20-19.
The second half opened with wing Oliver Marshall going close as Rishworthians created several good chances, only to commit infringements to prevent a score, the worst being penalised for a side entry with the line beckoning.
They had to settle for a Kelly penalty, but then more infringements saw them driven back. The visitors though were equally woeful near the home line, three times making a mess of a catch and drive from a lineout – twice for not straight. Once YM lost Fletcher-Tennant to injury, the writing was on the wall.
They were forced to drop out from their own line. The ball went straight to Kelly and he finished things off with a drop goal.
Rishworthians Development team had a good 26-12 victory at Huddersfield YM. There were tries for Anthony Shoesmith, Tom Gillespie, Ben Rooney and Phil Kershaw and three conversion by Joe Billing.
Old Brods stormed back to the top of the league with a 47-19 win over Durham City at Woodhead.
Following last week’s battle at Driffield, the Hipperholme boys returned to their home ground to play some outstanding attacking rugby in difficult conditions.
Playing down the slope in the first half they had the benefit of a cross wind to the bottom corner, however, with a wet ball handling was not easy.
Brods took the early initiative and having taken play deep into Durham territory it was Rob Jennings who opened the scoring with a quickly taken tap penalty and the Durham defence could not hold the powerful number 8 as he crashed over the line to the left of the posts.
The home side were showing up well with some strong running in midfield from Jason Dodd, Dom Georgiou and Adam Sutcliffe, prompted by the distribution of Brods number 10 Christian Georgiou.
However Durham took up the challenge and worked their way steadily into Brods territory with some good handling and support play to get them into good position in the Brods 22.
Jimmy Hodkinson relieved the pressure with some good kicking out of hand.
Having worked their way back into Durham territory, Phil Town ran a superb line to split the visitors defence and his pace and power left Durham flat footed as he rounded to touch down nearer the posts for his own conversion.
Durham responded well with some more good handling at close quarters and having set up a good position on the right hand side of the field they stretched the Brods defence when they moved the ball left to score a fine try out wide.
Brods' response was immediate and the back line ran from deep orchestrated by Cristian Georgiou for Jason Dodd to use his strength to finish well in the corner.
Phil Town was enjoying his game and his strong running created a further score for himself when he again split the defence to extend the lead to 24-7 and bank the bonus point for tries scored.
Brods' tight scrum had been solid throughout the first half and from a good position close to the Durham line, Rob Jennings picked up from the back of the advancing scrum to power over once more for the fifth try of the half and with Town's conversion, Brods held a half time lead of 31-7.
The Woodhead boys were mindful of the comeback staged by Malton just two weeks ago from a similar position and Durham certainly took the game to the home side with the benefit of the elements at their back.
The visitors were tenacious in their second half response and camped in the Brods 22 to force their way through the defence after repeated attempts from close range.
With the try converted and a score line of 31-14, Brods needed to reassert themselves and it looked like a great score when Jason Dodd broke up the field and passed to Cole Wilson with 30 metres to the line. The young prop forward showed real pace in his run to the line, however the ball was dislodged in the act of scoring, much to the disappointment of the appreciative crowd for a great effort.
The alarm bells started to ring for Brods when Durham showed some great pace to break down the left wing and with some great support work and passing scored in the left hand corner to reduce the deficit further, they were still in the game 31-19.
The Woodhead boys worked hard up the hill to gain a good position and when Durham conceded a penalty Town converted to extend the lead.
A further penalty achieved the same result and with a lead of 37-19, Brods nerves settled and they proceeded to close out the game with more controlled rugby deep in Durham territory.
Cameron Wroot capped a fine display with a well taken try following a kick and chase to the left hand corner and he followed this up with a further try in a similar position when he finished a move initiated by Phil Town.
The final score of 47-19 was a fair reflection of Brods dominance of the game however Durham City battled to the end.
Old Crossleyans faced their sternest test yet this season against fellow league trailblazers Pontefract, winning 25-20.
The game was set to be a tense close affair and didn’t disappoint.
The game started with Crocs getting early territory and strong runs from Ruben Pollard, Billy Hammond and Boj Sembi soon had the Pontefract defence stressed. Unfortunately, this
early momentum was lost following an adjudged knock on at the ruck.
The Pontefract scrum machine then started its engine setting an ominous platform for the away team. Ponte then managed to build pressure and territory leading to a penalty deep in
the crocs half following indiscipline at the breakdown.
The pressure was duly converted with three points giving the away team the early advantage.
The Pontefract scrum was easily the most powerful encountered this season and caused havoc for the home team, fortunately debutant scrum half Jamie Highley handled the pressure admirably and helped maintain crucial possession at the scrum.
The Crocs soon responded though, and following a lineout on halfway young debutant Oliver Waite hit an excellent line in midfield and raced into the Pontefract half evading cover defenders with ease.
Oliver was unable to link up with his supporting backs and intelligently elected to take the tackle from which Crocs gained quick ruck ball providing space for Billy Hammond to power over in the corner and score the first try, Joe Gallagher converted from the touchline making the score 7-3.
The game then entered a scrappy spell with neither team building any pressure following poor handling and lost lineout possession. The Crocs though kept probing and following a series of clever passes Chris Vine was released into space by the menacing Josh Hunt, he then dashed towards the Pontefract try line only to be tackled short, fortunately the Crocs supporting forwards were on hand to provide good quick ball for Billy Hammond to yet again crash over and register his and the home team's second try, Joe Gallagher adding the extra’s taking the score to 14-3.
Crocs were soon threatening again following a purposeful run by Billy Hammond who was stopped just short of getting his hattrick, this followed with persistent infringements at the breakdown by Pontefract to which the referee had had enough leading to a yellow card for the away team. Billy Hammond then tapped for a quick penalty and drove over to score his
hattrick and the team's third try.
Unfortunately, the try was not converted taking the score to 21-3.
Ponterfract then quickly realized the more they moved the ball the less effective they were as their backs were no match for the home side. Strong tackling by Tom Metcalf helped thwart any attack but soon Ponte developed their tight game and started to build territory and pressure.
Their powerful scrum began to show and quickly they found themselves in prime scrum attacking position under the Crocs posts. The powerful Pontefract scrum drove over the Crocs try line to register their first try taking the score to 19-10.
Unfortunately for Pontefract what followed was a random act of ill-discipline when one of their forwards lashed out with a punch immediately after the scrum had broke up, this needless attack to the head gave the referee no option but to reach for the red card. This seemingly foolish act was to cost the away team dearly and was to prove to be a crucial influence in what was a tight game.
The first half ended with Pontefract sneaking a cleverly worked drop goal form the base of a ruck, taking the score to 21-13 with all to play for in the second period.
The game then became a war of attrition with both teams showing excellent defence and the extra man advantage not yet being exploited by the Crocs forwards. Second debutant, pace man Jack Lumb then broke from defence liking neatly with his wing man Matty Beswick who raced towards the Ponte line only to be tacked short by some excellent cover defence.
Pontefract energy levels were showing no signs of dissipating with their scrum dominance still a threat for the Crocs. Pontefract’s tight five rolled through the phases troubling the Crocs
defence and eventually Ponte got their reward following crocs ill-discipline leading to a kickable penalty deep in the Crocs half. Ponte chose to run the ball and following several
quick phases the Pontefract prop was found in space to race over from 10 metres. The conversion was added taking the score to 19-20 and giving Pontefract the lead with 10
minutes left on the clock.
Then stepped-up Chris Vine who single handedly turned the game back into Crocs' favour, following a crafty quick tap at a 22 metre restart he regathered the ball and raced 50 metres
deep into the Pontefract half giving a good platform for the Crocs forwards to dent holes into Pontefract defence, eventually the home team won a penalty from another breakdown
infringement which was duly converted by the outstanding Chris Vine, taking the score to 22-20.
The Crocs then started to dominate and apply further pressure, electing for possession instead of penalty point opportunities, in search for the try bonus point. The Pontefract defence remained strong and resolute though belying their one-man disadvantage. Eventually Crocs decided to take the next penalty points on offer and in the absence of Joe Gallagher, the outstanding Chris vine added the penalty points and moved the game further away from Pontefract, 25-0.
An excellent spell of Pontefract defence helped keep the Crocs at bay and denied their try bonus point. The game finally ended 25-20 following a great effort form both teams.
Halifax RUFC lost 26-22 at Leeds Medics.
The home team, from the start, showed that they had speed and no small quantity of skill as, in the first 15 minutes, Halifax were in deficit to the extent of 0-14.
But the visitors to Lawnswood, within 20 minutes, had demonstrated that they were up for a battle. In the 20th minute, the powerful Ryan Hanley dived in at the corner to score.
Unfortunately he sustained a back injury and played no further part.
That spurred Halifax on and within ten minutes they had scored a second try through the sharp handling by the backs and the finishing of centre Kyle.
Halifax were showing improved handling and ball retention although they did give away, especially later on, too many free kicks. That situation could not be tolerated in light of the speed ,
particularly of the Medics lightening scrum half.
But the Halifax forwards were in the ascendancy with second row Josh Gledhill making good ground and with the Halifax dominant in the scrummage.
Immediately on the change of ends, Halifax took up a position in the home 22. With second rower Joe Bowman also ruling the line out and the attacking play led by captain Callum Bowmer it was no surprise that Halifax scored. James Wass, Bowmer and Toby Turner combined most effectively in Halifax taking the lead, with the conversion to 17-14. Bowmer converted.
Halifax tails were up. Their tackling was of good quality but it was not enough to withstand the strike by the opposing scrum half as he took advantage of a quickly taken free kick to score.
There was fine spirit with Halifax but time and tide were beginning to tell. Leeds benefited from greater fitness and began to camp in the Halifax half.
Towards the end, Halifax gave away a penalty try but their excellent spirit served them well . As the last moments were spent close to the Leeds line,
Halifax left wingman Corley demonstrated his speed and footwork to score the last try of the day.
This performance of a spirited Halifax team gave them and their supporters confidence that with improving fitness and experienced coaching, a good season would be expected.