Rugby round-up: Winning weekend for Calderdale clubs

An error-strewn game saw Heath sneak a 15-12 win at home to Durham City.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 17th January 2022, 9:30 am
Selby v Old Rishworthians. Photo: Carl Leetham.

Heath had to make several enforced changes to the side from last weeks visit to Malton and Norton. Missing were Ben Stringer, Joe Morrison and Harry Woollard, so coach Harry shuffled his team bringing in Joe Shipman, Gareth Hall and Jack Pilcher whilst on the bench Paul Turner returned alongside the evergreen Si Brown, with Mark Puttick and George Heron returning to the seconds.

Durham arrived at North Dean for their first ever visit and as Heath kicked off playing towards the river end they immediately went on the attack with Heath caught on the back-foot.

It came as no surprise to see them take advantage of some inept play by the home side converting two penalties to lead 6-0 with only 10 minutes played. Heath needed to respond and went in search of a score and on 17 minutes they were rewarded with a try when Gareth Hall slipped a pass to the supporting Eddie Cartwright. He was stopped just short of the line but the ball came out and further interchanges saw it eventually reach Callum Harriott-Brown and the wingman slotted home for a try in the corner and a score of 6-5.

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Selby v Old Rishworthians. Photo: Carl Leetham.

This seemed to inspire Heath and they continued to threaten another score and when Dom Walsh put in a cross field kick, which wasn’t dealt with by the visitors defence, Elliott-Spiers nipped in to score an easy try, converted by Eddie Cartwright, and Heath led 12-6 with 24 minutes played.

Heath continued to be on top at this point with Joe Shipman and Matt Hallett making inroads into the visitors defence and with Matt Beasty and Shipman controlling the line-outs Durham were hanging on. Saif Boussadda and Paul Turner replaced Olly Cook and Will McLaughlin, who was carrying an injury, on the half hour mark and they had an immediate impact but it was the visitors who scored a third penalty on 36 minutes to reduce the arrears 12-9 and it was game on.

There was no further score when the half time whistle sounded and as coach Harry marched on to the field it was clear he was not happy with the first half performance of his charges and demanded greater commitment in the second half.

Durham began the second half keeping possession of the ball pulling the Heath defence apart and after a series of penalties the crowd were surprised when they saw Matt Beasty red carded for a supposed dangerous tackle and from the conversion the visitors drew level 12-12 with 45 minutes played.

Heath v Durham City

Heath were up against it now and had to find some form.

Saif Boussadda and Paul Turner steamrolled the Durham defence, leaving players scattered on the floor, and as Heath continued to press for a score Durham had a player yellow carded in trying to deal with the onslaught. Heath continued to press but the visitors were resilient standing firm against the invasion.

Cue Si Brown and Will McLaughlin who entered the arena with Joe Shipman and Gareth Hall leaving the pitch. However, with Durham back up to full complement they now began to look for a score and once again Heath were on the back-foot.

Good work from Jack Pilcher and Elliott Spiers set up a chance for Heath and next up Callum Harriott-Brown went close to scoring before Durham had another player sent to the bin.

Heath v Durham City

More penalties followed and eventually on 72 minutes Eddie Cartwright converted one and Heath led 15-12.

It was now a case of defending the lead but all credit to the visitors in response and following superb work along the line it looked as if a try had been scored in the corner, but the referee ruled forward pass much to the relief of the home crowd and the Heath players.

Durham were not finished and as full time approached they missed a difficult penalty to level the scores. When the final whistle sounded it was a much relieved Heath team and their loyal band of supporters. Durham had pushed all the way and were perhaps disappointed not to have come away with a win.

Heath had sneaked the win and now must get back onto the training paddock next week and begin preparations for an away trip to Consett next Saturday.

Heath v Durham City

Rishworthians put in an excellent team performance to come away with the spoils in 13-10 win at Selby.

The two sides were evenly matched and for much of the game it was a case of defences cancelling each other out.

It was close throughout, but Rishworthians were particularly strong in the last quarter to take the victory.

Early on, good ground was made by man of the match Ethan Pollard, who linked well with prop Harry Whitfield before No 8 Simanu Tusiga went over only to be called back for crossing.

Selby took the lead from a penalty after fullback Isaac Riley was penalised for holding on after gathering a high ball.

Rishworthians though were over again only to be brought back for a forward pass.

They lost Tusiga with a leg injury with Selby looking strong, but a great 50-yard run from Whitfield inspired them and kept them in the home half.

It put Selby under pressure and a penalty from Josh Kelly went narrowly wide, but the pressure was maintained and hooker Toby Muscat-Baron was almost through to force a penalty. Kelly obliged with the kick to level the scores just before half-time, although a further penalty attempt went wide.

Early in the second half Rishworthians finally were able to break through. Centre Doug Heseltine picked up a loose ball and fed Oliver Marshall, for the winger to run in and round under the posts for an easy conversion for Kelly.

Selby hit back though and one missed tackle allowed them to break through and run in a converted try to again level the scores.

Rishworthians began to apply high kicks with the Selby defence always looking vulnerable under the high ball.

One of these brought a penalty and from the ensuing lineout the visitors drove for the line, but could not get over and the chance fizzled out.

They continued with the high kicks which again paid dividends. They were quick to tackle the defenders and win back the ball, which went out for Kelly to calmly kick a drop goal.

Rishworthians managed the rest of the game well although in the final seconds they had to stop a forward drive, forcing a Selby player to knock-on over the line.

From the resulting scrum, the ball came out and Kelly kicked it away to end the game and give Rishworthians an outstanding away victory.

Old Crossleyans travelled to West Leeds for their first away game of 2022 and served up a thriller at Blue Hill Lane, winning 21-15.

The game started with both sides cancelling each other out with equally strong forward drives cleverly orchestrated by both No10s.

Both teams looked threatening with ball in hand but it was Crocs who came close to score first following a strong drive from Nick Faulkner taking the Crocs to the West Leeds line and a barrage of forward drives ensued but these were met with an equally strong resolute defence.

Unfortunately, due to loose play West Leeds managed to weather the attack and clear their lines.

Eventually the deadlock was broken when a quick tap free kick caught the Crocs defenders ball watching, West Leeds broke the defence line and support was on hand to finish a well taken try near the posts, this was converted taking the score to 7-0.

West Leeds kept this momentum and following adjudged repeat indiscipline at the breakdown Billy Hammond fell victim to a yellow card. West Leeds converted the penalty taking the score and stretching their lead to 10-0.

The Crocs’ now down to a familiar 14 men kept their shape and slowly started to build their own momentum and following strong runs from Sam Ives, Ruben Pollard and Joe Buckle West Leeds found themselves having to defend close to their line.

Eventually Billy Hammond returned from the bin, and following a rare desperate loose clearance kick from West Leeds, which was taken neatly from the Crocs winger George Akroyd who raced through the West Leeds defenders making 30 metres before offloading to the supporting Billy Hammond to crash over under the posts.

This took the score to 10-7 and concluded the first half.

The second half started with West Leeds immediately gaining territorial advantage and started to look threatening through their strong running forwards.

Further indiscipline from the crocs’ saw James Cooper receiving a yellow card and 10 minutes due to back chatting, this piled extra pressure on the away team.

Crocs managed to weather the 14-man period once again and Rob Oliver took to the field following the substitution of James Cooper.

West Leeds then made the Crocs’ pay and following some expansive rugby stretching the Crocs’ defence which eventually buckled when the West Leeds winger was found in space to race over from 10 metres.

Fortunately, the conversion wasn’t added leaving the score at 15-7.

During this flurry of attacks Josh Hunt was adjudged to interfere the attack and became the third victim of a yellow card.

Crocs’ were again down to 14 and clearly struggling to adapt their discipline to the no nonsense but fare officiating.

The Crocs’ though rallied and started to run through the phases and following a trademark leg pumping run from the powerful Nick Faulkner, Callum Dunne was found in space and raced 20 metres before releasing centre Matty Beswick to crash over in the corner.

Joe Gallagher then stepped up to convert an excellent touchline conversion taking the score to 15-14.

This spurred the Crocs on who now found another gear launching repetitive attacks and pinning West Leeds back with some clever kicking from Joe Gallagher.

Josh Hunt then returned from the bin and the Crocs started to look even more menacing.

It wasn’t long before the away teams’ forwards started to break the defence line and stretch the West Leeds defence, Billy Hammond was then found in space and raced 20 metres evading cover defenders to score out wide.

The touchline conversion was again added by Joe Gallagher taking the score to 15-21 giving the Crocs’ the lead for the first time in the game.

The remaining 10 minutes though was all about West Leeds who threw everything they had at the Crocs.

The Crocs defence, like much of the season, remained resolute though and West Leeds couldn’t find the space to penetrate the defence.

Eventually the final whistle came much to the relief of the away fans.