A losing bonus point was little consolation for Heath, who let a 19-7 lead slip and lost 21-19 away to second-placed Malton and Norton in Yorkshire One yesterday.
Heath were as selected with Ian Downsborough and Si Brown returning to a side looking to cause an upset and complete a double after winning the home fixture 25-23.
The visitors made a solid start with Cameron Ramsden and Callum Harriott-Brown soon involved. Sam Pollard was looking safe at fullback and Heath were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty on 13 minutes from Ezra Hinchliffe.
Malton were making too many mistakes and with Heath winning line-out ball, the visitors were in control.
However, the hosts persevered and put on a surge. Good scrum ball paved the way for a converted try on 27 minutes.
Replacement Darren Neilly and Chris Piper were in the thick of things. After a great run, Mark Puttick was stretchered off following an horrendous tackle off the ball which went unpunished. At the same time, another Malton player obstructed a Heath move and was sin-binned.
Hinchliffe’s penalty closed the gap to a single point and another Malton offence allowed him to make it 9-7.
Dominic Walsh, Fergus Marsden and Ramsden made ground and Heath had a scrum 10 metres out but Malton held out to half time.
Malton began the second half with a storming attack but Heath’s defence stood firm. Hinchliffe collected a high kick and his clearance was chased down by Harriott-Brown. Hinchliffe was up in support and as he raced for the line to follow up his short kick through he was cynically taken out by Malton’s fullback, who was sin-binned. Heath continued attacking and the referee spoke to the Malton captain.
There were constant infringements and after Heath won lineout ball, a penalty try was awarded on 54 minutes. Hinchliffe converted and Heath led 16-7.
Piper had to go off with a shoulder injury but Malton were at sixes and sevens and on 58 minutes Hinchliffe added another three points.
However, Malton’s response was immediate with their captain going in for a try and the conversion made it 14-19.
Heath were under the cosh and it was only a matter of time before Malton scored again. They did so with a converted try on 65 minutes to take the lead.
The visitors would not give in and applied constant pressure but were unable to find a way through, finishing desperately disappointed.