Plant leaves Heath on high note

Kevin Plant reires as Heath coach. He receives a framed first team shirt from Si Brown

Kevin Plant reires as Heath coach. He receives a framed first team shirt from Si Brown

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Heath gave coach Kevin Plant a winning send-off by winning 26-17 away to Hullensians in Yorkshire One.

They were completing a double having defeated the Hull side in the league opener in September.

The West Vale men were returning to the east coast, having narrowly lost at Scarborough the previous week, and had Ian Downsborough on the bench after he had played for the RAF against the Royal Navy in midweek.

In superb conditions on a big, flat, open pitch, Heath kicked off and a kick-and-chase from Gareth Webb had Hullensians scrambling to clear.

The visitors kept up the pressure and after Chris Piper and Mark Puttick had charged through, Dom Walsh came up with the ball, sold a dummy and went over. Ezra Hinchliffe converted on four minutes.

After 15 minutes of open play, in which both sides threw the ball wide, Heath might have extended their lead following Jack Sheldrake’s scything run through the centre. However, Walsh’s pass to Webb was low and knocked on 10 metres from the home line.

The Heath pack earned a penalty for Hinchliffe to make it 0-10 but Hullensians regrouped and Sheldrake was adjudged to have knocked the ball down. He was sin-binned and the hosts pulled back three points on 23 minutes.

Heath were struggling at this stage but defended well, helped by several huge clearances from Hinchliffe. From the last one, a penalty was awarded and Hinchliffe restored Heath’s 10-point lead.

Hullensians had a player yellow carded for punching and Walsh took advantage with his second try for an 18-3 interval lead,.

Heath were immediately under the cosh and a converted try put the hosts back in the game.

Good runs from Olly Cook, Ryan Hunter and Chris Piper helped earn a penalty and Hinchliffe made it 10–21 on 48 minutes.

Sheldrake’s huge punt put Heath back on the attack. Props Piper and Rondene Johnson featured in possession but Hullensians broke down the wing, scored in the corner and added an excellent conversion to cut the gap to four points.

Hamish Pratt got Heath working again with several good runs and Sheldrake snapped up a loose ball and Darren Neilly, Walsh and Brown were involved before Jacob Storey scored on 66 minutes.

Play became scrappy and a bonus-point try eluded the visitors.