Saturday 9th September 2023.
In Impact Performance National Conference League Division 1 Heworth travelled to Oulton Raiders for their final fixture of the regular season and after a below par performance slipped to a disappointing 26-18 defeat. There was no lack of effort but in sweltering conditions on a narrow pitch, not suited to their expansive style of rugby, the Villagers struggled throughout to achieve any sort of consistency and they were never able to recover from a lacklustre opening half hour in which too many unforced errors allowed the hosts to dominate possession and territory which led to them establishing a 12-0 lead. They did briefly show a glimpse of what they were capable of after producing their best spell of the match to post two tries in the closing five minutes before the break to level the contest at 12-12. Unfortunately they were unable to maintain their momentum and despite edging 18-14 in front on 49 minutes the Raiders registered two touchdowns in the final quarter to run out worthy winners.
The home side dominated the opening exchanges and took the lead after nine minutes with a try by centre Adrian Holdsworth converted by centre Kieran Walpole. Three minutes later they doubled their advantage after the visitors failed to deal with a high attacking kick and loose forward Hal Day scooped up the loose ball to score which Walpole again improved for a 12-0 lead. It could have got even worse for Heworth on 18 minutes when the Raiders should have extended their advantage after getting over the line but the try was chalked off for a knock on in the act of scoring. The hosts though continued to dominate until with five minutes remaining the Villagers finally managed to create some pressure on the home line and full back Fraser West nipped over wide out direct from acting half back and substitute Jack Sadler added the extras with a fine touchline conversion. Right on the stroke of half time a slick handling move to the left led to stand-off Danny Allan sending second rower Liam Richmond striding through a gap to touch down for a trademark try which Sadler goaled to level the scores at 12-12.
Sadler took the Villagers Man of the match award.
Heworth commence their bid for the third promotion place in the first round of the play-offs next Saturday when sixth placed Skirlaugh are the visitors to Elmpark Way. Kick off 2.30p.m.
Match report- Dave Ward