Rugby round-up: Mixed bag of results for Calderdale clubs
Heath grabbed a losing bonus point in a hard-fought 15-20 defeat against Malton.
Heath welcomed back hooker Alex McFadden, following a long injury lay-off, as he replaced Mark Puttick who took a stint on the bench and with Ben Stringer unavailable Fergus Marsden had a starting berth in the backrow. Also returning at centre was Tom Owen with Matt Hallett moving to the bench.
Heath were on top with 20 minutes played. However, the game developed into an arm wrestle as both sides tested each other out. An unfortunate injury to Callum Harriott-Brown on the half hour saw Matt Hallett enter the field of play, but, with half time approaching, the score remained pointless.
Heath made an excellent start to the second half and following yet another brilliant run from Elliott Spiers were rewarded with a penalty, converted by Dan Cole, and a lead of 3-0, with 45 minutes on the clock, was fully justified.
Mark Puttick replaced Fergus Marsden as Malton began to edge their way back into the game and they levelled the scores with a penalty after 55 minutes.
Heath then conceded two converted tries in five minutes, and a penalty, as Malton took control and led 20-3.
Heath needed to respond as Turner and Marsden replaced Cook and Rhodes with 15 minutes remaining and this seemed to inspire the home side. Marsden was on hand to win line out ball and, as Walsh released Joe Morrison, he linked well with Tom Owen taking the return pass to score under the posts, converted by Dan Cole and Heath were back in the game 20-10.
Captain Chris Moore was leading by example and urging his players on and, when Dan Cole kicked a penalty to the corner, this set up another onslaught into the visitor’s tired looking defence. Heath continued to press with Marsden, Moore and Will McLaughlin making good yardage but Malton were holding on. Further pressure by Heath side saw the visitors reduced to 14 players, following a yellow card and Heath managed to take the advantage. The ball was won from a line out by Matt Beasty and then Dan Cole, Joe Morrison, Eddie Cartwright linked up to eventually get the ball out to Matt Hallett, who went over in the corner for Heath’s second try. A missed conversion saw a score of 20-15 with minutes remaining.
Heath continued to press but the visitors held firm and were much relieved to hear the final whistle.
Heath Seconds began their league campaign in disappointing fashion, as they were convincingly beaten 65-17 by an impressive Keighley outfit.
The home team started quickly and raced into an early seventeen point lead, with their centres causing all sorts of problems with their direct style and offload game. When Heath had the ball, they were creating more chances and had their best period of the game before half time.
Jack Bruce carried well all game and caused problems running off the inventive Olly Scrimshaw. Heath’s forwards took charge and a number of powerful drives later, Emlyn James reached out to score an unconverted try. From the kick off, man of the match Brook Ward, rampaged into the opposition half. This was carried on by the tireless Matthew Wilkinson who along with Max Dawes worked hard against much larger opposition. Carter Haigh replaced Paddy Kerr. More pressure on the home teams line resulted in Scrimshaw and Tobias Hinchliffe exchanging passes, with the former touching down in the corner. From an over thrown line out, Keighley scored on half time for a 24-10 lead.
Heath struggled to get any possession in the second half and conceded a further seven tries. One bright spot was Heath’s third try, Bruce broke up the middle and
charged forty metres before finding Hinchliffe on his inside who romped under the posts, Scrimshaw added the conversion.
A much-changed Old Broadleians fell to their first defeat of the season in a hard fought 36-12 loss to league leaders Ilkley.
It took just five minutes for the home team to set pacey full back Kristian Dobson free, and only a last-ditch tackle prevented him opening the scoring. Brods managed to scramble and clear their lines, but a simple play from the resulting lineout saw Ilkley’s JH Johnson crash over in midfield for an unconverted try to give Ilkley a 5-0 lead.
Brods were quick to respond, and when Jasper Ayrton, making his first start of the season, earned a penalty following a jinking run to the line, Phil Town kicked to the corner and the resulting lineout saw Brods march the Ilkley pack backwards for Bob Sykes’ fifth try of the league campaign. The conversion was missed by Town and the scores were level at 5-5.
The second Ilkley try followed on twenty minutes after a good period of play by the Brods which saw their forwards test the Ilkley defence, with Alex Dawson, Bob Sykes and Elliot Craven all putting the Woodhead team on the front foot. A missed Ilkley penalty saw the Brods drop out from their 22, and the impressive JH Johnson deftly chipped the onrushing Brods chasers and sent Ilkley skipper, Joe Lowes, in under the posts for the simplest of tries. Conversion missed.
As good as the Brods forwards were in taking play to their opponents, their makeshift backline was struggling to find any cutting edge, and they were soon further behind when Ilkley broke through once more and a scrambling defence saw Brods penalised for a high tackle. The resulting Johnson penalty put Ilkley 13-5 ahead.
A good scrum in the Brods half saw them on the front foot and once more it was Johnson with a barnstorming run and offload to put Jack Maplesden in for a converted score. Ilkley leading 20-5. With first half time running out Cam Woot received a yellow card following a series of penalties, and Johnson stretched the lead to 23-5.
When Ilkley changed their front row, Brods seized their opportunity, and the returning Cam Wroot dived over following several powerful scrums which saw Ikley driven backwards. An Ilkley yellow for a high tackle was to follow, and for a while Brods sensed there might still be something in the match for them at 23-10. To their credit, Ilkley’s defence held firm for long periods and their impressive 7, Gamble, was able to pull off three great steals to relieve pressure.
Michael Tuke made his Brods first team debut coming on for Jason Dodd, but it was to little effect and Ilkley scored their fourth of the day when Brods spilled the ball, giving away a penalty, as they attempted to drive out of their 22. An Ilkley lineout and resulting phases saw their number ten, Benny King, dive over from close range. The conversion and two more penalties stretched the lead to 36-12, and at the final whistle Ilkley took the spoils in a hard-fought contest.
Reflecting on their first defeat of the campaign, Brods captain Benny Pritchett said: “I really could not have asked more of the lads today. Credit to Ilkely, they defended everything we threw at them and really pushed us with their attacks.”
Coach Oli Akroyd spoke of his team’s efforts saying: “It was a tough lesson for us but we gave everything we had. We had to dig deep and show some character and I’m proud of that. There are plenty of things for us to work on in training this week, and I am sure the lads will be ready to go against Pocklington at home next Saturday.”
Old Crossleyans’ first away game of the season was one to savour, as they won 43-20 at Bradford Salem.
Crocs started to pose a threat early with strong running from George Hammond and Martin Hamer creating space for Josh Hunt to probe the home defence line.
After Crocs seized possession and crafted some excellent running play, stretching the Salem defence, winger George Ackroyd strolled in the corner unopposed, Joe Gallagher added the extra’s with a fine touch line conversion.
Salem then upped their intensity and started to enjoy a prolonged period of possession and territory eventually resulting in a lineout close to the Crocs try line.
Salem took full advantage and from the lineout maul managed to drive over and register their first score.
Joe Stott then found space following a quick ruck and raced into the Sale 22 metres zone before releasing his winger Josh Hunt who finished unopposed to score Crocs’ second try.
Jack Hammond then combined with Billy Hammond in midfield who then evaded tacklers to race 40 metres to score an excellent individual try under the posts.
Salem responded well earning a penalty in the crocs half following an offside call at the ruck, this was duly converted.
Crocs soon began to find their form again though and following a good period of possession Matty Beswick found space out wide to race deep into the Salem half, the ensuing ruck was slowed by Salem and Crocs were awarded a penalty close out. Joe Gallagher went for the corner and the excellent worked line out resulted in Cameroon Brannan driving for the line and registering Crocs third try, Joe Gallagher added the extras and the game was quickly slipping away from Salem.
Crocs were now hunting for the bonus point and this soon came following excellent quick phase play which released the seemingly undefendable Billy Hammond into a gap from which he raced clear to score his second try from 30 metres.
Salem soon found themselves close to the Crocs line, and eventually broke through to score following consecutive forward drives.
It was then the home team which showed indiscipline at the breakdown leading to a penalty which Joe Gallagher duly converted.
Then up popped scrum half Joe Stott, again finding the space around the ruck to race clear from 30 metres and pile on the misery for Salem.
Following more indiscipline in defence by the Crocs, Salem soon got their just rewards with a try following forward drives short of the Crocs line.
Halifax Vandals were on cloud nine after a stellar display saw them dismantle Sheffield Medicals 59-7 at Warley.
The hosts ran in nine tries against a side tipped in some quarters as being serious contenders for promotion from Yorkshire Three, with the versatile Jimmy Crowther also racking up a personal 19-point haul.
The forwards led the way with Ben Burnside (2), Joe Bryson, Paul Jowett, Jamie Richardson and Danny Mitchell all crossing, while Crowther, McAspurn and Ben Simms ensured the backs also got in on the try-scoring fun.
With a vocal crowd, swelled by Ralph Pollard’s 63rd anniversary as a Vandal celebration, cheering them on, the Vandals got off to a flying start as skipper Jowett opened the scoring from a pick and drive.
That set the tone for the rest of the half as the Vandals pack terrorised the Students. However the Vandals had to cope with being down to 14 men first after Luke Sutcliffe, returning to the side after missing the first two games of the season, was yellow carded.
Being a man down didn’t seem to impact the Vandals initially, though, as Crowther slotted over a penalty. However Medics took advantage of the spare man, cutting through the Vandals defence to score a converted try through Tim Baldwin.
The joy of the visitors was short lived, though, as the Vandals pack moved through the gears - and loosehead prop Burnside rediscovered the form that once saw him finish the season as top try-scorer. Burnside powered over twice from close range as the Medics had no answer to the power up front. Crowther converted both for a 24-7 lead at the break.
Playing down the slope for the second half, the Vandals cut loose in emphatic fashion - with a deluge of tries.
The impressive Crowther, switched to fly-half after filling in at 9 for the opening two games, made a superb line break and converted his own try for a 31-7 lead.
The Vandals went through the phases for Richardson to cross, while the pick and go routine resulted in hooker Bryson registering his first of the campaign.
A superb lineout steal from Isaac Pollard provided the platform for Mitchell to crash over before the back wrapped up proceedings. First McAspurn showed neat footwork to score, then Crowther added another penalty before before Simms was on hand to finish off a good line break from Fowler.
Vandals will now look to carry this form into next week when they make the trip to Hemsworth.
Halifax Vandals 2nds, though, came off second best against Cleckheaton, losing by five tries to two, despite a promising display. Chris Metcalfe and Callum Gerrard impressed on their debuts for the Vandals, while Gordon Semple and Liam McDonald made their welcome returns.