In Impact Performance National Conference League Division 1 Heworth, after a patchy stop start performance finally edged out Wigan outfit Ince Rose Bridge 30-26 in a scrappy and often ill-tempered contest at Elmpark Way. The Villagers looked to be cruising to victory after posting four tries for a 20-4 lead after 32 minutes before allowing the visitors back into the match with a converted try five minutes from the break to reduce the deficit to 20-10. The second half developed into a fractious affair littered with niggling tactics which led to a number of skirmishes and severely restricted the flow of the game. Heworth struggled to regain control of the match after losing their shape and cohesion due to committing too many unforced errors along with some sloppy defending which gifted the visitors three tries to get themselves just four points adrift with six minutes left on the clock. The Black and Whites though showed some commendable resilience in a frantic remaining period to hold out for victory but were still mightily relieved to hear the final whistle.
Heworth went in front after just ninety seconds when the visitors allowed the opening kick-off to go dead and from the resulting goal line dropout they moved the ball quickly to the right and full back Fraser West dummied his way over for an unconverted score. On 6 minutes they increased their lead after taking advantage of a six again set of tackles another slick handling movement led to centre George Elliott storming through the defensive line to touch down and stand-off Danny Allan added the extras to make it 10-0. Five minutes later they should have gone further ahead after again exposing the visitors left edge young winger Callum Childs raced over the line for what looked like a certain score but the ball slipped from his grasp in the act of touching down and the chance went begging. Just a minute later in their first foray into home territory the Bridge hit back with a try from full back Peter Valentine to cut the gap to six points. The Villagers however, were undeterred and on 16 minutes debutant hooker Harley Axe supported a break by loose forward Ben Dyson-Dent to cross by the posts for Allan to add the simple conversion. On 32 minutes the hosts looked to be heading for a runaway victory when another impressive handling movement sent Childs over to score to put them 20-4 ahead. The visitors though again hit back five minutes before the break with a touchdown by second rower Harry Penny which was goaled by loose forward Rob Valentine.
The second half was a frustrating one for Heworth who were unable to produce the impressive form which they had shown in the opening period and as tempers began to fray the visitors sensed the chance of an upset and on 49 minutes, they took advantage of some slack defending to reduce the deficit to four points with a try by winger Gaz Jones converted by Rob Valentine. Then on 55 minutes following another altercation Bridge centre Jamie Malone was dismissed for an alleged trip and just two minutes later Elliott blasted his way past several defenders direct from a tap penalty for his second touchdown and Allan added the extras to make it 26-16. Ince though, despite having only twelve men were still not done and right on the hour mark prop Andy Collier crashed over under the posts and Valentine's third conversion again cut the gap to four points. With both defences now looking vulnerable it became a case of you score, we score and on 65 minutes the Villagers edged themselves eight points ahead after a quick shift to the right from a scrum led to Childs crossing for his second try. It was still not over though and with six minutes remaining Bridge centre Ben Holcroft made it all to play for after touching down to make it 30-26. Heworth however dug deep in the final period and despite a few scary moments managed to hold out for the win.
Liam Jackson was man of the match for the Villagers.
Heworth have no game next Saturday and are next in action on 1 July when they travel to Skirlaugh.