Yorkshire One leaders Heath edge Selby in hard-fought clash

Dom Walsh
Dom Walsh

Yorkshire Division One leaders Heath maintained their undefeated start to the season with a 23-19 victory but were made to fight all the way by visitors Selby.

Heath welcomed returning club captain Alex McFadden to the starting line-up following injury and Jonny Cole who was unavailable last week due to work commitments. Also having a starting berth was Olly Cook while Chris Moore took a stint on the bench alongside Seif Boussaada and Chris Robinson.

In glorious conditions, Heath began strongly and in the first few minutes Selby had a player sin-binned as the visitors struggled to adapt. The resulting penalty attempt was missed but Heath kept the pressure on with Ezra Hinchliffe, Willie Tufui and Si Brown linking well and Selby were under the cosh.

Alex Patrick won line-out ball and from the result drive by the Heath forwards Patrick crossed the whitewash to open Heath's account, 5-0, with 15 minutes played.

Selby managed to re-group and a cross field kick put pressure on the home defence but Callum Harriott-Brown was on hand to scoop the ball up and turn defence into attack. His pass to the supporting Alex Patrick, who sprinted over the half way line before he released Ezra Hinchliffe and his deft pass to Si Brown saw the full-back sprint 30 metres to score in the corner and increase the score to 10-0.

Chris Moore and Seif Boussaada entered the field as Richard Brown and Olly Cook took a break and they were immediately asked to defend as the visitors, who were not going to lie down, began to find some rhythm.

Following some excellent handling Heath were clinging on and then from a line out ball Selby drove into a home defence before releasing the ball to Cicero who skipped over the line for a try, converted by Cruise to reduce the arrears 10-7 with 30 minutes played.

Selby became encamped in the Heath 22 and when Paul Turner was sent to the bin for a high tackle it was only a matter of time before they took the lead following a long cross field pass found wing Bodman to go over in the corner and a score of 12-10 was a deserved lead for Selby as the half time whistle blew.

Heath needed to start well and were awarded a penalty in the first minute which Hinchliffe converted to give them the lead 13-12.

From the re-start, following an altercation, Boussaada was sin-binned and Heath were down to 13 players and Selby began to turn the screw. Richard Brown returned for Jonny Cole as the game ebbed and flowed but suddenly, out of the blue, Dan Cole danced his way through a very static visitors defence to increase the home side lead to 18-12 with 50 minutes played.

Heath had begun to find some form and when Chris Robinson replaced Si Brown and players returned from the bins they looked to have held on but Selby surged forward, scoring a converted try on the hour mark when Hogan went under the posts, converted by Cruise, to retake the lead 19-18.

It was anyone's game but when man of the match Alex Patrick once again won line out ball and with the Heath forwards driving towards the try-line, the ball was spun out by Dom Walsh to Dan Cole and his slick pass to Williie Tufui enabled the centre to storm over for a bonus point fourth try and put Heath 23-19 up with 10 minutes to play.

The visitors stormed back onto the attack only a superb cover tackle from Callum Harriott-Brown prevented a certain score as Heath held on.