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LOCAL RUGBY UNION: Stoppage time drop earns Beavers the points

HEATH RUFC 18 –  19 BEVERLEY RUFC (Saturday March 10)

Beverley came out on top against Heath for the third time this season in a bruising encounter at North Dean, Halifax, to maintain their second position in the league and put a dent in Heath’s promotion ambitions.

The dreadful weather conditions did not suggest the prospect of much flowing rugby and so it turned out, the result being a dour contest largely played out between the two forward packs.

After five minutes Beverley were penalised in their own 22 and Ezra Hinchcliffe duly kicked the goal to give Heath a 3-0 lead. Beverley replied five minutes later through a Phil Duboulay penalty (3-3) but Heath immediately hit back when Beverley failed to contest a kick through from Jordan Bradbrook, who followed it through to touch down (8-3).

Back came Beverley and some surprisingly slick handling amongst the backs opened up a gap in the Heath line, allowing Will Turnbull through to touch down for a try which Phil Duboulay converted (8-10).

Play settled into a mid-field slog for the remainder of the first half until, on the stroke of half time, Beverley were awarded a penalty which Phil Duboulay duly converted (8-13).

The second half began again with both packs figuring in a mid-field battle. This suited the much bigger and physical  Heath 8 much more than Beverley and, inevitably, the pressure told and Heath scored a pushover try which was converted to give them the lead (15-13).

With 20 minutes to play and both sides tiring there was everything still to play for. Beverley looked to be the fitter of the two sides and with five minutes to go Phil Duboulay kicked a penalty to re-take the lead 15 points to 16.

Heath made a mess of the drop out but instead of having the kick retaken Beverley elected to have a scrum which was surprising since they had hardly won a scrum in the second half.

Inevitably Heath won this and kicked to the corner. Then came yet another poor decision when, against a much bigger pack of forwards and two metres from their own line, the Beavers chose to throw to the back of the line, lost the lineout and had to concede a penalty, which was kicked to allow Heath to retake the lead 18-16 on full time.

In stoppage time Beverley pressed down the left-hand side of the field, into a boggy area. The ball came back to Phil Duboulay who had positioned himself to attempt a drop goal. The ball sailed through the posts to seal a memorable victory for the Beavers by 19 points to 18.

For Beverley, Isaac Keighley at No 8 had an outstanding game behind a game set of forwards who were heavily outweighed and travelling backwards at a rate of knots most of the time. But he cleaned up everything that came his way.