Welch inspires Bridlington in Heath win

Heath 13 Bridlington 32
Heath 13 Bridlington 32

Bridlington made it 14 wins from 20 league games in Yorkshire One with a 32-13 success at Heath.

It cemented third spot in the table, as they took advantge of fourth-placed Hullensians’ day off.

On a cold, fine afternoon, the West Vale pitch was dry and firm underfoot, providing ideal playing conditions.

In the first minute, Heath declined a penalty on the visitors’ 22m line, in front of the posts, and chose to run the ball, but it came to nothing.

However, five minutes later a similar chance was offered and Ezra Hinchliffe made no mistake to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.

For the next few minutes Brid exerted pressure on the Heath line, providing a stern test of their defence, in which Ian Downsborough and Fergus Marsden were prominent.

But when a kick to touch by Brid was palmed down into to the hands of their winger Will Davies and he gratefully accepted it to score near the posts. The try was converted by Jack Arthur and Bridlington led 7-3 after 12 minutes.

Heath were clearly below par compared with the previous week at Malton. In contrast, Brid were on song.

Si Brown was fortunate only to concede a penalty after a deliberate knock-on to disrupt Brid’s momentum. After that, it was aerial ping-pong before Heath were found offside, leading to Stevie Mellonby scoring wide out on the end of a two-man overlap.

When Bridlington kicked the ball into touch on the halfway line, it led to a great try was scored by the outstanding fly-half Matiu Welch who went through unopposed on the end of a pass from Ryan Girking. Arthur converted and Bridlington led 19-3.

Welch’s final pass went astray as the line beckoned, and Heath were struggling in the scrums and kicked away too much possession to a well-drilled, strong side which didn’t lack pace.

After the re-start, slick passing between the Brid three-quarters brought Mellonby into the line but the final pass went direct into touch.

Hinchliffe relieved pressure on Heath with a long kick to find touch 20m from the Brid line. A great drive followed, with Downsborough breaking through but he was adjudged to have lost the ball grounding it over the try line.

Heath’s cause was helped when the Brid prop Qaqambile Mrwetyana was eventually yellow-carded for persistent offences in the set piece and the Heath backs then produced a handling move to put Pollard in at the corner. Hinchliffe’s conversion made it 19-10 on 52 minutes.

For the next 10 minutes, Heath were largely on the back foot requiring some frantic tackling, although when Hinchliffe made no mistake with a penalty, they were looking set for a losing bonus point.

Soon afterwards, Heath won a lineout in an attacking position but lost possession. This typified the afternoon which had been beset by unforced errors, for Heath.

Brid had a superb fly-half in Welch. He never appeared short of options and had time to select the most appropriate.

After Arthur had kicked another penalty to extend the lead, the visitors really upped the tempo using their pace and ball-retention skills to close Heath out of the game.

Welch scored a try after slick passing between forwards and backs to make it 27-13 with three minutes left and the conversion attempt hit the posts.

To conclude the scoring, Welch broke away again, eventually putting Ali Sutton in for an unconverted try.