There were some long faces among the Heath supporters at North Dean yesterday as the home side went down 27-25 to Yarnbury in a battle of early-season strugglers.
Dave Harrison’s men somehow contrived to lose their fourth successive Yorkshire One game in spite of completely out muscling the visitors from Horsforth.
Their three tries were scored by forwards while Yarnbury’s four all came from backs, who cashed in on woeful defence.
In a fluctuating contest, Heath trailed 17-3 early in the second quarter, had turned it round to lead 18-17 at half time and then fell 27-18 behind before their late push came up short.
Harrison pronounced himself “a bit baffled” that the referee hadn’t taken stronger action against Yarnbury’s repeated scrum offences near their own line.
He also recognised his own side’s failings with Heath’s tackling, decision making and discipline below par.
“We have a lot of injuries but that is no excuse. We still have enough players and strength in depth to be winning games like this,” he said.
Ezra Hinchliffe and Jack Sheldrake returned to the Heath midfield while Chris Moore continued at prop, fears that he had broken his wrist at West Leeds the previous Saturday having proved unfounded.
Yarnbury started on the front foot, showing few mental scars from a 45-17 home mauling by Brods seven days earlier.
They were 10 points up inside eight minutes, aided by three successive offences by Heath.
Stand-off Danny Pound kicked a penalty, the ball going over via an upright, and then strolled through a huge gap in midfield to touch down, adding the easy conversion.
Hinchliffe pulled back three points but when a Yarnbury kick out of defence took a freak bounce, right winger Jack Brown shook off a couple of half-hearted tackles to touch down and Pound converted.
Heath brushed up their act and with the Yarnbury scrum beating a hasty retreat, exercised enough control to wipe out the deficit.
Flanker Ben Maxwell touched down from a lineout catch and drive on 26 minutes and, with Yarnbury No 8 Rhys Leighton in the sin-bin, his impressive opposite number Richard Brown scored from close range on 34 minutes.
Hinchliffe converted the first of the tries and added a penalty from under the posts just before the break to give Heath a one-point lead.
Heath dominated possession and territory for almost all of the third quarter but were unable to get over the try line, Fergus Marsden going closest but losing the ball just short.
When Yarnbury finally broke out, Heath’s Kiwi stand off Jordan Bradbrook was yellow carded for a needless late tackle.
Yarnbury made the most of their numerical advantage when Brown scored his second on 67 minutes, taking advantage of more shoddy tackling.
When skipper and centre Jordan Avieson hacked a loose ball forward and dropped on it over the try line with seven minutes, the writing was on the wall for Heath.
Marsden scored the home side’s third try as the home forwards turned the screw again but Yarnbury, with flanker Russell Gomersall in the sin-bin, held out.