Late Heath flurry earns maximum points

Ian Downsborough
Ian Downsborough

A late flurry of tries helped Heath beat visitors Wath Upon Dearne 32-8 at North Dean yesterday and bank five match points for the first time this season.

It lifted them 10 points clear of the Yorkshire One drop zone and gave them revenge for a 22-3 early-season defeat in South Yorkshire.

The West Vale venue was sheltered from a strong, blustery wind but the pitch was sodden and a plethora of errors marred the spectacle.

The sides started the day level on points but Wath had conceded 50 at Selby the previous week and they faded in the closing stages having led 8-5 at half time.

Heath made light of the withdrawals of back rower Hamish Pratt and centre Barry Mather to make a bright start.

No 8 Ian Downsborough, who again proved the key man for the home side, took Heath into visiting territory with a 40-metre burst, swatting off one tackler.

Inaccurate passing was a hindrance but the home side maintained the pressure and eventually engineered an overlap on the right, centre Gareth Webb sending young fullback Eddie Cartwright in for an unconverted try on 10 minutes.

Lock Olly Cook was probably Heath’s second best player over the 80 minutes but he attempted to field the restart, which was not going 10 metres, and immediately surrendered field position to Wath.

The visitors pressed hard and winger Brad Taylor eventually strolled in on the left flank to make it 5-5 after 19 minutes.

Home marksman Ezra Hinchliffe missed a straight 27 metre penalty on 21 minutes but his Wath counterpart Sam Jones made no such mistake with his easy opportunity eight minutes later and gave his side the lead.

Heath were repeatedly penalised at the breakdown but Hinchliffe produced a great kick to the corner. A three-man overlap was created but the ball went to ground from flanker Rob Depledge’s pass and the half-time whistle arrived with the home side rather having lost their way.

There was an immediate improvement on the resumption, hooker Mark Puttick touching down behind the posts within 60 seconds after a good kick chase had forced an error from Wath. Hinchliffe converted for a 12-8 lead.

Webb and Hinchliffe combined well but a chance was spurned when the ball was lost into touch and Heath, in spite of their scrum dominance, fell back into their slipshod ways with coach Kevin Plant urging his players to ‘keep it simple’ while in possession.

Alarm bells started ringing when Depledge was sin-binned on 55 minutes as Heath defended desperately but scrum half Dom Walsh eventually kicked clear.

A Hinchliffe penalty to touch took play back into the Wath half and Cook and prop Andy Piper went close before Hinchliffe accepted an easy three points on 62 minutes.

Heath’s set piece continued to stand them in good stead and Wath’s resistance was ended in the closing seven minutes.

There was no stopping Cook from close range and Hinchliffe then registered a late try double, the bonus-point score after good work from Downsborough and the second a fine individual effort.

After one conversion attempt hit the right-hand upright, Hinchliffe added the final goal for a 17-point individual haul.