Heath’s five-game winning run in 2017 was ended when they went down 19-17 to an injury time try at Keighley in Yorkshire One yesterday.
The visitors made several changes with Callum Harriet-Brown, Tom Baxter, Martyn Barnes and Eddie Cartwright missing from the side which beat Beverley a week earlier.
Jack Bruce starting on the wing, Alex McFadden returned from a hand injury and Howard Hanks and Jack Sheldrake came in to the starting line up. Cameron Ramsden made a welcome return alongside Chris Moore and Jordan Moana on the bench. In superb, sunny conditions Keighley were the first to press but Heath stood firm and in the eighth minute James Robson, Ezra Hinchliffe and Jordan Bradbrook linked well to burst into the Keighley 22.
The visitors lost Bruce with a shoulder injury as play swung from end to end.
Ezra Hinchliffe. who was setting the example with some ferocious tackles, was tackled a metre from the try line on 25 minutes following a superb break from Sheldrake.
Keighley’s defence was all over the place and Hinchliffe’s penalty gave Heath a deserved lead.
Keighley came back strongly. Luke Saltonstall prevented a try but the hosts were not to be denied and a converted try gave them a 7-3 lead after 33 three minutes.
The home side were beginning to find some rhythm and their kicking game was excellent. They ran in a second converted try on the stroke of half time to lead 14-3.
Heath needed to start the second half strongly and they did just that with Richard Brown leading the charge and prominent in the scrums.
Dom Walsh put in Sheldrake for a try on 42 minutes, converted by Hinchliffe, to narrow the gap to four points.
Following a huge kick, only a try saving tackle from Matt Beasty thwarted Keighley.
Brown set up a chance for Saltonstall and with the home pack struggling, Keighley had a player sin binned.
Heath were in control and from a scrum on 62 minutes Brown pounced for a try which was converted by Hinchliffe for a 17-14 lead.
This seemed to inspire Keighley and with 10 minutes left Heath lit the self-destruct button.
Sheldrake stole the ball and set off on a run but Chris Moore put in a late tackle and play was brought back. When Moore again infringed the referee had no option but to yellow card him, much to the delight of the baying crowd.
Heath had to re-group and as the clock ticked down the Heath defence was put under immense pressure but held firm. They had three chances to clear but failed to put the ball into touch and Keighley took advantage to grab a clinching score.