HEATH made it three wins in a row, after their opening day defeat at Middlesbrough, with a display full of character in a 28-26 home success against Moortown yesterday.
Their prospects looked bleak when the third-placed visitors turned a 7-0 deficit into a 19-7 advantage after 28 minutes of the Yorkshire One contest.
An Ezra Hinchliffe penalty narrowed the gap slightly before half time and Heath then muscled their way to victory, scoring 18 points without reply before Moortown scored a converted try with the game’s final action.
Home coach Dave Harrison had turned the air blue with his interval address to the players in the centre of the pitch, his words carrying to the spectators in the stand on a thankfully dry, grey and still day.
It certainly had the desired effect and although a four-try bonus point eluded his side, he was happy with the outcome.
“We were pretty average in the first half and lacked energy and urgency but we had those things in spades in the second half,” said Harrison.
He added that Moortown were a useful side, who would win plenty of games this season, but felt they had buckled after the break.
“I was really pleased with our set piece,” he said.
Heath made a fine start, with speedy winger Callum Harriett Brown having a couple of early opportunities to stretch his legs, and from his second run returning centre Matt Hallett slid over and Hinchliffe added the conversion.
A catalogue of errors followed from the home side over the next 20 minutes, starting with indecision from the restart and then a string of penalties conceded.
Moortown, who looked very capable across the park, took full advantage. Full back Mark Greenwood’s penalty was followed by two more effortless strikes from longer range by centre Mark Shires.
When Heath stand-off Dan Cole’s attempted kick was charged down, Shires was denied a try by Hinchliffe’s desperate and illegal efforts to get to the ball first.
A penalty try was awarded, Hinchliffe was yellow carded and Heath had their backs to the wall at 7-16 after only 13 minutes.
Heath tried to restore some order and winger Jacob Storey’s run and grubber kick brought some temporary relief before a high tackle enabled Shires to put further daylight between the sides.
A driving maul, which gained the home side 35 metres and three points from the boot of Hinchiffe, was a sign of things to come after the break.
Heath ramped up their efforts after the restart and concentrated on what they are good at - scrummaging and mauling.
Replacement Jordan Moana and prop Olly Cook went close in the left-hand corner and the pressure told when hooker Alex McFadden plunged over.
Hinchliffe added the conversion and his 40 metre penalty on 50 minutes gave Heath a 20-19 lead.
Hallett was ruled in touch close to the line as Harrison’s men pressed for another score and McFadden supplied it on 62 minutes with an unconverted try from a lineout catch and drive.
Moortown attempted to rally and open play out. Dave Skinner gained a timely turnover as the visitors pressed and with time almost up Hinchliffe’s long, straight penalty opened up a nine-point lead.
The value of that kick became apparent seconds later. Visiting No 8 Mike Uaiava-Taulealo, the most powerful runner on the field, broke through Heath’s defence to set up centre Gary Smith for a try, converted by Shires, which earned Moortown a losing bonus point.