Brown hat-trick in Heath’s fine start

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Simon Brown scored three of Heath’s seven tries in an excellent 43-31 opening Yorkshire One win at league newcomers Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Calderdale side gave debuts to Jason Merrie, Tunisian international Seifeddine Boussaada and Dave Skinner while welcoming back ex-colts Jack Crabtree and Peter Birkett,

Merrie was prominent in the early exchanges and Jordan Bradbrook’s superb kick to the corner set up Heath’s first attack.

Heath won the lineout, a sign of things to come, and after the forwards had battered the defence, Chris Piper scored and Ezra Hinchliffe converted.

From the re-start Hinchliffe kicked for position and further pressure saw Brown go over in the corner for an unconverted try and a 12-0 lead on 10 minutes.

There was no stopping the Heath onslaught and with Middlesbrough at sixes and sevens, full back Eddie Cartwright joined the line and Merrie off-loaded to Hinchliffe, who touched down and added the goal. Heath were cruising at 19-0 with a quarter of the game gone but the hosts hit back on 28 minutes through winger Moloney, the conversion hitting a post.

Middlesbrough were beginning to find their rhythm and Heath had to fight hard to prevent further scores but another huge clearance from Jack Crabtree put Heath back on the attack and Chris Moore, Chris Piper, Matt Beasty, Olly Cook and Richard Brown tested the home defence.

Crabtree then cleverly switched play to Hinchliffe and the centre skipped in for a converted try on 34 minutes to make it 26-5.

A forward pass denied Middlesbrough a score and Hinchliffe extended the lead early in the second half when Hinchliffe picked up a loose ball, threw an outrageous dummy and released Brown to go over for the bonus point try and a 31-5 lead.

Middlesbrough replied with an unconverted try on 50 minutes and pulled back another seven points with a quarter of the game remaining.

Alex McFadden and Ben Maxwell tackled well as Middlesborough looked to cut the deficit further but when the hosts were offside Hinchliffe’s excellent kick to touch led to line out ball and a cheeky try from Birkett, converted by Hinchliffe, to make it 38-17.

The points continued to flow. A Middlesborough converted try on 70 minutes was followed by Brown’s third from a clever cross field kick.

Middlesborough had the final say with another seven-pointer but visiting coach Dave Harrison was delighted with his side’s fitness levels and the performances of the newcomers.