Saturday 23rd September 2023
Heworth, after an absence of 24 years, are back in the Impact Performance National Conference League Premier Division following a scintillating 46-6 victory over Oulton Raiders in the Play-off Final for the third promotion place in front of a sizeable crowd at Elmpark Way. The Villagers were at their imperious best, replicating last weeks solid defensive performance combined with a devastating display of attacking rugby which produced six unanswered tries to lead 32-0 at the break and virtually end the match as a contest. They then went on to post three further touchdowns after the interval whilst restricting the visitors to a solitary consolation effort with just eight minutes left on the clock.
Heworth came out firing right from the start and went in front after 13 minutes when they moved the ball quickly to the left and second rower Liam Richmond left several tacklers in his wake before crashing over to score. Stand-off Danny Allan added the extras before just two minutes later combining with centre Tom Barron to send winger James Morland racing away down the left flank and cross for an unconverted try. On 22 minutes they increased their lead after full back Fraser West fielded an attacking kick by the Raiders and weaved his way past several defenders before being hauled down forty metres out. From the resulting play the ball scrum half Liam Jackson sent centre George Elliott striding through a huge gap in the retreating defence to touch down for a well worked score which substitute Jack Sadler improved to make it 16-0. The Villagers were now firmly on the front foot and three minutes later Richmond again proved unstoppable close to the line to go in for his second try. Sadler again obliged with the two pointer before, right on the half hour mark turning provider for substitute Jack Earl to touch down next to the posts for Sadler to slot the simple conversion. The onslaught continued and with the Raiders just not able to cope with the hosts free flowing handling style another impressive move in the final minute of the half led to West crossing wide out on the left edge for an unassailable 32-0 interval lead.
The opening period of the second half developed into a scrappy affair after the Raiders, with the game virtually over, came out intent on damage limitation but their attempts to slow the game down became over zealous which resulted in two players being sin-binned in the 49th and 50th minute for a late hit and high tackle respectively. The Black and Whites needed no invitation to take advantage of the situation and on 54 minutes a quick shift to the right put Elliott in for his second touchdown to ease them 36-0 ahead. On 57 minutes a dangerous lift on hosts centre Tom Barron led to a further yellow card for the visitors and just three minutes later a looping cut out pass from Sadler found Elliott who sent winger Billy Sturdy in at the right corner for another excellent score which the centre goaled from the touchline. With quarter of an hour remaining West caught the visitors defence unawares at the play the ball after nipping down the blind side and putting Sturdy over for his second, and the Villagers ninth try to make it 46-0. With ten minutes left on the clock, following another altercation the hosts lost a player to the sin bin for striking before on 72 minutes the visitors closed with a consolation try by substitute Jordan Blagg converted by winger Kieron Walpole. That completed the scoring and the referees final whistle set the champagne corks popping and spark jubilant scenes of celebration from the Heworth players and supporters on a historic day for the Club which sees them back in the Premier Division for the first time this century.
In another superb team performance in which every player played his part Liam Jackson took the Villagers Man of the match award.
Report - Dave Ward