Heath had a comfortable 34-7 home win over derby rivals Old Rishworthians yesterday, taking control with 27 unanswered points in the second quarter of the contest.
The North Dean contest was played in good spirit with both sides looking to play open rugby. However, the strength in depth of the hosts told and their five-point haul keeps them in touch with the leaders in Yorkshire One.
Rishworthians are 10th with only nine points from six games.
Heath welcomed back Jason Merrie (knee) and Matt Beasty (ankle) from injury and Callum Harriett-Brown from holiday while the visitors had eight regular starters missing, mostly through injuries.
Both sides made a tentative start but Olly Cook and Chris Moore linked to set up Heath’s first real attack and then a clever kick from Jacob Storey was chased down by Eddie Cartwright as the home side began to get on top.
Rishies were struggling to clear their lines and a poor clearance kick enabled Harriett-Brown and Jack Crabtree to put the pressure back on.
Fergus Marsden charged down a kick and an easy penalty chance was missed with the strong wind having an effect.
Marsden, Ian Downsborough, Cook and Beasty all went close but it needed something special to open a dogged Rishies defence. Ezra Hinchliffe’s clever kick did the trick, Harriett-Brown chasing the ball down for a try in the corner, converted by Hinchliffe.
Hinchliffe added a penalty and Rishies suffered a hammer blow when, from an attacking position and with a penalty advantage just called over by the referee, Jacob Storey intercepted and ran 70 metres to score Heath’s second try and extend the lead to 15-0 on 30 minutes.
The home side sent on powerful bench trio Richard Brown, Seife Boussaada and Jordan Moana to turn the screw. From a line out catch and drive Cook emerged with the ball for Heath’s third try.
Dan Cole was running the show with some astute kicking. Superb play from the Heath backs enabled captain Ian Downsborough to go in for the bonus point try and Hinchliffe’s conversion was followed by the half time whistle.
The visitors needed to respond and went close after the break.
The action was fast and furious and Brown linked well with Hinchliffe before Harriett-Brown’s race to the line was halted. His off-load to the supporting Downsborough was dropped and a try went begging.
Rishies continued to look for a score entering the final quarter but the Heath defence stood firm with Alex McFadden leading by example.
Moana scooped up the ball following a clearance from Storey and as Rishies struggled to defend, Moana and Jonny Cole linked and Peter Birkett popped up for a try converted by Hinchliffe.
Rishworthians’ never-say-die efforts were rewarded in the final minute. A strong run from centre Ben Waud took him close to the Heath try-line and the supporting Ben Hinsley went over. Josh Kelly added the goal.
Outstanding for the visitors were prop Josh Crickmay, flanker Harvey Keighley-Payne, Waud and left wing Luke Flanagan.