Yorkshire Shield final: Brods spring surprise

Old Brodleians celebrate their Yorkshire Shield victory over Heath at Keighley'Bennie Pritchett, Matt Hoyle, Rob Jennings
Old Brodleians celebrate their Yorkshire Shield victory over Heath at Keighley'Bennie Pritchett, Matt Hoyle, Rob Jennings

Old Brodleians won the Yorkshire Shield for the first time in their history with an 18-6 victory in an all-Calderdale final against Heath at Keighley.

They upset the form book against a Heath side who had beaten them twice this season in Yorkshire One but found it a game too far after a narrow promotion play-off defeat at West Hartlepool five days earlier.

The dismissal of Heath full back Eddie Cartwright for a dangerous tackle five minutes before half time was a key factor in the contest.

A deluge an hour before the kick off threatened to make things tricky but the artificial pitch drained well with no standing water and Brods adapted to the conditions better.

The Hipperholme side opened brightly and earned two penalties in Heath territory in the first 10 minutes. Although struck well from some distance, the attempts drifted wide.

Chris Moore relieved some of the pressure with a strong run and Heath looked to have the advantage in the lineouts while the scrums were evenly contested.

Some big hits in midfield from Brods’ industrious forwards produced turnover ball and the underdogs took the lead when Cameron Wroot broke down the left wing and his deftly-placed kick through was chased down by Jason Dodd, who dived on the ball.

The touchline conversion was missed but Brods continued to hold the initiative with good recycling and solid defence.

Heath finally made it into the Brods 22 with a run from Ezra Hinchliffe and following an infringement in a ruck Dan Cole pulled three points back approaching the half-hour mark.

The five-point gap was soon restored with a Phil Town penalty from within the Heath 22 but Hinchliffe replied on Heath’s next visit to the Brods 22 for an 8-6 score line.

Cartwright had got his marching orders for upending Town in the tackle, the referee checking with his assistant before showing the red card, but Brods’ Rob Jennings received a yellow card close to half-time following an accumulation of penalties and the game was still in the balance.

Heath were ringing the changes but it was the Woodhead boys were first to score minutes after the restart when the referee spotted hands in a ruck and Town calmly stroked the ball over to extend the lead to 11-6.

Brods’ defence was solid throughout and Heath could not find a way through.

The crucial point in the game came when Jennings re-joined and Tom Hanson entered the fray for a scrum awarded to Heath 10 metres outside their 22. Heath were shunted off the ball and Brods stole possession. The ball was moved from left to right and some good handling saw Town break through from 20 metres out, his strength and pace taking him to the line. He also cut inside to give himself an easy conversion and suddenly there was a 12-point gap between the teams.

As play moved towards full time sJoe Armitage and Harris Morris produced excellent clearing kicks to help keep Heath at bay.

Brods were deserved winners on the night while two finals and two losses was not how Heath had planned to end of a season of great endeavour.