West 24 Heath 23

By El Pedro - April 28 2019
West 24 Heath 23 A stoppage time penalty from player-coach Stu Waites (pictured) secured promotion back to North One East at the first attempt after an enthralling contest with Yorkshire One runners-up Heath ..

Having missed out on automatic promotion after twice losing to eventual champions Durham City with the last kick of the game it was about time we were on the right side of a last-gasp win and when Waites kick slid through the posts it triggered wild celebrations in front of a big crowd at Brinkburn.


Spare a thought for Heath who played an excellent game only to lose in the cruellest fashion. They had led for almost the whole game and had they gone on to win nobody could have said they didn’t deserve their victory. We wish them all the best for next season and hope they can go one better and join us in North One East.


Our players deserve huge credit for staying in the game and never giving up. Trailing 11-23 early in the second half having already lost three players to injury it looked a long way back but we stuck to our task, took our chances and were rewarded at the end.


Our early eagerness in defence led to a series of offside penalties and Heath inside-centre Ezra Hinchcliffe slotted one to give his side the lead after just 4 minutes. We bounced back well to attack in the left corner and a reversed decision against the visitors would prove costly as when patient attack moved to the right, Will Hilditch went over from close range.


Two more penalties from Hinchcliffe followed and Scott Butcher was shown a yellow card as referee Michael Ince continued to establish the offside line. Already under pressure we started to suffer injuries with Jay Corbett the first to leave the field after a heavy collision making a tackle. John Bunter came into the second row with Chris Atkins shifting to number 8. A matter of minutes later Adam Brown was also forced from the field with Michael Hogan replacing him in the front-row.


Our ball-carriers in the forwards had enjoyed some success in getting across the gain-line but the backs were not having such a successful afternoon and things got worse on the half hour when Peter Youll couldn’t take a pass and Heath inside-centre Hinchcliffe reacted fastest - breaking up field and holding off the tackle of Waites long enough to get a super offload to fly-half Dan Cole who ran in under the posts.


The injuries kept on coming with influential Davy Heckles the next to go down, Luke Mallinson coming on for him and Will Hilditch moving inside to his early season position at centre.


Desperate for some points before the break we got back on the front foot after a no-arms tackle on Youll saw Matt Beasty yellow-carded and a series of penalties followed as Heath repeatedly slowed the ball down at the breakdown. Waites pulled 3 points back with a penalty and then, with another penalty advantage awarded, added a drop-goal with the last action of the half.


Those crucial points had us back within a score but Heath came out the better of the teams after half-time and dangerous winger Callum Harriet-Brown finished strongly after a well executed attack.


Roared on by a large visiting support Heath now looked like running away with the game but as our defence clung on, mistakes at key times proved costly. Crucially we kept them without further points and when our time came to attack we patiently worked the ball almost the length of the field into the 22. Another breakdown penalty allowed Waites to pull a further three points back and brought a final warning from referee Ince for slowing the ball down close to the line.


A nice run up the right wing from Luke Mallinson set up another good position in the 22 with a little over 10 minutes to play and another infringement saw Heath full-back Eddie Cartwright shown the yellow card. Knowing a try was now essential we opted for a scrum and a superb effort against a much bigger pack set the platform from Chris Atkins to pick up and power over. Waites conversion closed the gap to two points with 6 minutes of normal time to play.


Heath responded well but a superb turnover from Scott Butcher metres from our own line kept us in the game. A long kick to touch from a penalty in our own half seemed to give us one last chance but Heath held up the maul and it looked like our opportunity had slipped away. From the resulting scrum the visitors set about running the clock down with the pick and go but somehow we managed to rip the ball away and win possession back. As we recycled the ball Heath were caught offside giving us a penalty and, knowing time had expired, left Waites a massive decision. The kick was far from easy, 15 metres in from the left touchline with the season riding on it. Go for the corner or scrum and we still had the opportunity for a try or to generate an easier kicking chance. He opted for the kick and, while not the prettiest, it crept inside the right post and, after what seemed like an eternity, the touch judge flags were raised and the final whistle was blown, starting the celebrations.

West: Southern, Hilditch, Heckles, Youll, Tennant, Waites, Siddle, Coates, Rollins, Brown, Atkins, Linighan, Barker, Butcher, Corbett.

Reps: Bunter, Robinson, Mallinson, Hogan


Tries: Hilditch, Atkins

Con: Waites

Pens: Waites 3

DG: Waites

YC: Butcher


Heath: Cartwright, Robinson, Spooner, Hinchcliffe, Harriet-Brown, Cole, Reynolds, Skinner, McFadden, Moore, Beasty, Patrick, Cole, Merrie, Brown.

Reps: Crabtree, Moana, Marsden, Piper


Tries: Cole, Harriet-Brown

Cons: Hinchcliffe 2

Pens: Hinchcliffe 3

YC: Beasty, Cartwright


Referee: Michael Ince [Manchester]

Touch Judges: Revis Phillips, Will Halford [Durham]



West 24 Heath 23
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 10:32
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Re: West 24 Heath 23
Rozzy 1 (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 11:50
Phew ... good game and good result, but very nervy. We'd better get used to playing Yorkshire teams because N1E is chocker with them. Let's hope they don't all have a trumpeter.
We did well to cope with the injuries and come back after the game looked lost - that's the sort of spirit we'll need by the bucketful next season, because it's going to be tough.
Good luck to Heath next season, they must be absolutely gutted to lose like that.We know how they feel, having suffered exactly the same twice against Durham City this season.

Re: West 24 Heath 23
Parental Unit (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 19:53
Tremendous result achieved through some superb tackling of their big ball carriers. Line out excellent, scrum excellent, discipline also really good.
Great credit to Sid for creating that penalty by bouncing the ball of an offside player’s backside and of course to Stu who was in commanding form throughout. It took some bottle to slot that winning kick specially with some unsporting gent blowing a trumpet just as he was kicking.

Re: West 24 Heath 23
LesterP (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 20:38
Just saw 'that' kick - kindly transmitted from Stan all the way from Cairo to Coigach.


Re: West 24 Heath 23
Kathryn 😊 (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 21:00
I’m not sure it was the trumpet but their siren thing - either way it didn’t matter.

The rest of the pics are here, and the video


Re: West 24 Heath 23
Hardwick Man (IP Logged)
28/04/2019 21:46
A season of rugby goes down to 80 mins, whilst in injury time the season goes down to a kick .....you really couldn't write this stuff.
Sport is heroic, rugby would of been the sport of Achilles, Ajax and Paris .....a game of heroes

Re: West 24 Heath 23
01/05/2019 19:42
Bit late commenting on this one unfortunately. It was an excellent game with a bit of everything and played in the right spirit. We lost three important players in the first half and gave away a daft try then came the legendary West spirit and we played in all the right areas as the game headed towards its dramatic conclusion.
I have rarely enjoyed a game so much and credit to both teams and supporters.

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