Saturday 16th September 2023
Heworth are just one step away from promotion to the top flight of the Impact Performance National Conference League after a stunning 34-0 victory over Skirlaugh in the first round of the Division 1 play-offs at Elmpark Way. The Villagers, following two successive defeats in their final two League games, bounced back with a vengeance and showed their class to produce a controlled and disciplined team performance based on a gritty and resilient defensive effort along with their relentless style of attacking rugby which saw them post six unanswered tries to ensure an impressive success over a hard working and gallant Hull outfit.
As expected, both teams started strongly, making good yardage and creating good field position without being able to penetrate their opponent's defence. It was Heworth though who began to look the more threatening and on 13 minutes they opened the scoring after a sweeping move to the right edge just failed to produce a score but a quick shift back across to the left led to a sublime long pass from stand-off Danny Allan sending winger George Elliott crashing over by the corner flag for an unconverted try. Nine minutes later Allan was again the provider, this time for second rower Liam Richmond to charge over to the left of the posts for substitute Jack Sadler to add the extras for a 10-0 scoreline which, despite both teams creating scoring opportunities, remained that way until the break.
Any thoughts of a comeback by the visitors were soon extinguished five minutes into the second period when more slick handling by the Villagers again exposed their right flank with full back Fraser West sending Elliott striding over in the corner for his second touchdown before improving the position for Sadler to slot the conversion. Eleven minutes later it was virtually game over when Allan replicated his first half defence splitting pass to put Richmond in for his second score which Sadler again improved to make it 22-0. Skirlaugh though were in no mood to lie down and helped by a sudden spate of penalties in their favour they ramped up the pressure on the hosts line but a dogged and determined effort kept them at bay before right on the hour mark Villagers winger Billy Sturdy rose to collect an attacking cross kick and raced away before being hauled down just over the halfway line but despite a quick play the ball the visitors scrambling defence managed to prevent a score. Sturdy however, was not to be denied
and six minutes later he produced a similar effort but this time made 70 metres downfield which proved too much for the visitors and enabled West to cross under the posts for Sadler to add his fourth conversion. The Black and Whites final try came in the closing minute after more smooth handling enabled scrum half Liam Jackson to take advantage of a tiring defence to race over to score which Allan improved to complete an outstanding display.
Elliott took Heworth's Man of the match award with Richmond, West and Sturdy also prominent in a classy all round team effort.
The Villagers now face Oulton Raiders for the final promotion place at Elmpark Way next Saturday. Kick off 2.30p.m.
Match report- Dave Ward