Play-offs: Heath head to West Hartlepool

Callum Harriett-Brown
Callum Harriett-Brown

Heath head north on Saturday for their most important game for many years as they seek promotion to North One East with a win over West Hartlepool in a play-off final.

Having finished second in Yorkshire One, Heath now pit themselves against the team that finished runners-up in the Durham and Northumberland One league.

While Heath comfortably took second spot behind worthy champions Moortown, West Hartlepool had a titanic battle for the runners-up berth with Northern.

West Hartlepool clinched a play-off place in the final round of games with a vital win at Novocastrians while Northern lost away to Hartlepool Rovers.

Heath coach Dave Harrison said: “Since we secured second spot the club has been buzzing and we are all ready for what will be a titanic battle against a club side who have played at the very top of the league structure. We are all aware of the battle that awaits us.”

Ten seasons ago West Hartlepool were plying their trade in North One but over the seasons have suffered relegation to National Three North in 2013 then from North One East at the end of last season to find themselves to Durham and Northumberland One.

“We have never played them but we have done our homework on them,” said Harrison.

“We are aware they have a big pack so we have been working on a few changes to our game plan to counter this,” he added.

Selection has been finalised with the Heath pack remaining the same that finished the season.

In the backs Heath welcome back wing flyer Callum Harriett-Brown and full back Eddie Cartwright with Chris Robinson on the other flank.

Jack Crabtree sits alongside Fergus Marsden, Jordan Moana and Chris Piper on the bench.

“Selection has been a problem but we have gone for lads who have plenty of game time in recent weeks,” said Harrison.

“It is hard on lads who have missed out, in particular Seiffe Boussadda who has had a shoulder injury, but we took advice from our medical team who advised us not to risk him.

“Olly Cook and Ian Downsborough were also hoping for a place in the squad after recovering from long-term injuries but they are not match fit,” said Harrison.

“The lads are buzzing. We have had a structured week at training and we are now ready to go.

“If we play our normal game then I think we can get the result desired”.

Three coaches will be leaving Heath after breakfast at the clubhouse. Many others supporters are travelling up by car.

The outcome of the game will also be of great interest to another Calderdale side, Old Rishworthians. If Heath go up, next-to-bottom finishers Rishworthians may avoid relegation.