A lovely, although rather cold day, and with the Beverley pitch looking in superb condition, the scene seemed set for some good running rugby and the expectant crowd were not disappointed.
These two teams are riding high in the league table at present and it is not difficult to see why. Very evenly matched, both sides showed a willingness to run the ball as much as possible and displayed plenty of skill in doing so.
Beverley took the lead after 7 minutes with a try from lock forward Adam Corkish which Phil Duboulay converted (7-0). Play was very even for the next 20 minutes or so and the strong running of Heath’s centres Bradbrook and Hinchcliffe finally breached the Beaver’s line with left winger Cartwright scoring a try which Hinchcliffe converted to make it 7-7.
A minute later Phil Duboulay kicked a penalty for Beverley to restore the lead to 10-7 but Heath quickly swept downfield to grab the lead with a converted try (10-14.) This was increased 10 minutes later with a Hinchcliffe penalty (10-17). Play continued to be end to end and eventually, after 40 minutes, a Duboulay penalty reduced it to 13-17.
In the third minute of stoppage time, Heath prop forward Cook was adjudged to have scored a try in the corner although his foot was clearly in touch before he touched down (13-22) and half time.
The second half started in much the same manner as the first and after 6 minutes Beverley centre James Graham scored a try which Phil Duboulay was unable to convert (18-22). Heath replied with a penalty (18-25) and shortly afterwards missed one from in front of the posts. However, within a couple more minutes, they increased their lead to 18-30 with another unconverted try, leaving Beverley now needing two scores to catch up.
After a series of attacks centre Jack Howdle scored a fine try to reduce the deficit to 23-30 and although the conversion attempt was missed, Phil Duboulay kicked a penalty to make it 26-30.
Beverley now pressed the Heath defence, searching for the gap but it held firm. A long clearance kick from the Heath full back was fielded by centre James Graham who set off on a searing run up the touchline and weaved his way through the tiring Heath defence. He fed the ball inside and the ever alert Will Harrison snapped it up and dived over for the bonus point try which Phil Duboulay converted to snatch the victory by 33 points to 30.
A cracking match which neither side deserved to lose. Beverley probably just deserved the victory because of their tenacity. James Graham was Beverley’s man of the match.