Firsts take bonus point to almost guarantee safety

Dinnington’s snow clearing efforts were rewarded with a bonus point victory which virtually keeps them in Yorkshire One next season.

Chris Williams makes a tackle for Dinnington
Chris Williams makes a tackle for Dinnington

With the bottom five teams all having to play each other at least twice there would have to be a highly unlikely string of events for Dinnington to be caught. On a day of clear blue skies and a biting wind, blowing up the slope, Dinnington kicked off and then had to defend for the first 10 minutes as Heath, safe in mid-table, came at them at pace.

Dinnington defended well and held the visitors on the 22 metre line. With their first possession Dinnington sent a kick up field but the wind blew it too far and Heath touched down for a drop out. Dinnington did well from the restart and drew a penalty from Heath which Jonny West converted for the lead.

Two minutes later Heath were again penalised at a ruck and West stepped up to put Dinnington 6-0 ahead.

John Morgan carries for Dinnington

Heath still held a slight territorial edge but although their passing was neat and crisp their play was not penetrating some solid defending. Just past the mid-point of the half Dinnington won a penalty just inside their own half and although some suggested a kick at goal, a kick for touch was the option but Dinnington then lost the lineout and Heath began an attack, through several phases, which ended with their number eight stretching over in the corner to cut the lead to one point. Dinnington made changes to their front row and it made an immediate impact as they were able to push Heath back.

However, it nearly backfired when they wheeled a scrum on the Heath 22 which opened up a chance for the visitors to break the length of the field, only denied by some good cover defence. Further good defending saw Dinnington turnover the ball at a Heath lineout close to the home line before a long clearance kick found touch in the Heath 22. Again Dinnington turned the ball over to set up an attack which brought them another penalty, in front, and West converted to open up a 9-5 lead. In the final minutes of the half Heath had Dinnington under pressure but the home side stole the ball at a ruck virtually on their own line and cleared for half time.

Dinnington had taken all their chances in the first half but there was a feeling that Heath held the slight edge especially with the advantage of the wind in the second half. However, an incident from the kick off gave Dinnington a psychological advantage.

Heath kicked the ball into the home 22 where, from a ruck, scrum-half Andrew Whittingham broke clear and made 70 yards before being brought to ground but winning a penalty. Dinnington kicked to touch and then drove over from the lineout with Russell Winters touching down and West converting.

There was a clear swing in the initiative as Dinnington began to play with more confidence. Ten minutes into the half, they repeated the feat with this time John Marshal touching down but the conversion was missed. Heath, clearly rattled, failed to make 10 metres with the restart and this allowed Dinnington to set up another attack which earned West another penalty chance to open up a 24-5 lead.

Heath persisted with a carrying game, when using the wind to pin Dinnington back seemed the better option, and with some strong tackling Dinnington were able to disrupt.

Mid-way through the half the home side were held up just short of the line, winning a penalty, and opted for a scrum.

They were initially driven back but moved the ball wide to put West over in the corner and the lead to 29-5.

Heath rallied and showed what they should have been doing all half as a Dinnington clearance got held up by the wind allowing the visitors to have them back-tracking in their own 22. Despite some stout defence, Dinnington could not prevent Heath from claiming a converted try.

Dinnington did not allow the visitors to threaten again as play became contained mainly in mid-field.

Inside the last ten minutes of the game, Heath had a player sent to the sin-bin but it took Dinnington until the last minute of the game before they made it count when Mark Pinder burst through from close range to claim the bonus point try. West added the conversion to round off a good day for Dinnington. Tomorrow they travel to Ilkley.