A 23-12 victory at Acklam yesterday brought huge relief for Heath in Yorkshire One.
The pressure was on in a second successive basement battle, after a home defeat to Yarnbury seven days earlier.
Coach Dave Harrison responded with several changes, which included the returns of Callum Harriet-Brown and Si Brown on the flanks.
The Middlesbrough side dominated for much of the first half but blew at least four try-scoring opportunities.
In the first five minutes, home wingman Chris Mallan made a brilliant 60 metres run before being tackled three metres short of the try line.
Acklam put a penalty into the corner but then knocked on.
Heath’s backs were showing signs of being able to combine in attack. Not so in defence, when poor tackling allowed Acklam through – only for the final pass to be knocked on.
Dom Walsh made a break but was penalised for holding on and Heath were driven back to within 10 metres of their own line.
Acklam centre Ricky Scott was next to make a clean break but again the final pass was knocked on and Harriet-Brown managed a 30 metres sprint out of trouble on 20 minutes.
A great tackle by Jack Sheldrake halted Acklam’s next attack but Harriet-Brown was left very exposed when he tried to run the ball out of defence.
Acklam got the ball on the visitors’ 22 metre line, rumbling forward. When the pass went out, Sheldrake intercepted but was adjudged offside. The penalty was missed.
The home team had enjoyed about 75 per cent of the possession so far but Ezra Hinchliffe’s penalty from in front of the posts put Heath ahead on 33 minutes.
Acklam came straight back with another interception by Scott but he lost the ball with only one man to beat.
Heath’s fragile defence was again being exposed but they were controlling the scrum and winning lineout ball. When half time came, they were glad to turn round and have the wind behind them.
Hinchliffe doubled the lead with another penalty and on 52 minutes added a third to make it 0-9.
Heath were beginning to look more confident. Fresh legs were sent on and the back line functioned perfectly following a scrum. The ball passed swiftly out to strike-weapon Harriet-Brown, who showed a clean pair of heels, touching down near the flag. A superb conversion from Hinchliffe made it 0-16 on 61 minutes.
Confidence flowed through the backs with splendid running and passing from Sheldrake, Hinchliffe, replacement Louis Barrett and Jordan Bradbrook to create another chance for Harriet-Brown, but the final pass eluded him.
Si Brown was then unlucky not to score from a well-directed cross-kick.
On 71 minutes, Walsh was injured from a late tackle and was perhaps unwise to stay on the field as Sudron rounded him for Acklam’s first try.
It produced an immediate response with Fergus Marsden and Sheldrake bursting through to set up a try for Barrett. Hinchliffe’s conversion made it 5–23 on 77 minutes.
Hinchliffe was sin-binned for making a tackle before retreating 10 metres at an Acklam tap-penalty and home fly-half Daniel Ashton waltzed through to score under the posts, adding the goal himself.