FOR THE second time this season, Bradford Salem gave high-flying Heath a real run for their money in the first half before the home side's superior strength and fitness enabled them to pull away and eventually ease to a comfortable Yorkshire One 41-13 victory.

When the teams met at Shay Lane in November, Salem could have counted themselves unlucky to be only level at half time and, this time, they had to be content with a lead of 13-12 at the break when a scoreline of 20-12 might have been justified.

Perhaps the most telling moment in the game came after seven minutes when after a brilliant break by second rower Rhys Green, who was a a constant threat, the ball was moved wide.

Seventeen-year-old centre Matty Smith, who otherwise had an excellent game, then crossed for what was a certain try, but, in an effort to get nearer to the posts, he dropped the ball over the line and a golden opportunity was missed.

Salem continued to press but they had to be content with a penalty from winger Jake Green for a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.

A penalty on half way gave Heath a first opportunity to launch an attack in their opponents' 22 and they scored from a driving maul, centre Ezra Hinchliffe adding the conversion to put the hosts 7-3 in front.

A fine tackle by Salem's Latvian winger Martins Bokiss straight from the restart gained the visitors' possession and they looked certain to score when scrum half Callum Smith, another 17 year old playing with maturity beyond his years, put through a lovely kick into the path of Jake Green. However, the ball took a wicked bounce to give Heath another huge let-off.

Then, to make matters worse, Heath's speedy winger and man-of-the-match Callum Harriet-Brown scored a 40-metre breakaway try to extend the home side's lead to 12-3.

In spite of suffering an ankle injury at a line-out, Salem's outstanding player, Rhys Green, made a nice break in midfield and although Heath briefly managed to clear their line, a crunching tackle by centre Same Dunn won them back possession.

Salem captain Christian Baines then burst though before sending fellow back-rower Nick Fontaine sprinting under the posts for an excellent try which Green improved to reduce the arrears to 12-10.

Minutes later Green was on target again with a penalty from 30 minutes to give Salem a narrow 13-12 advantage at the break.

Another big momentum swing came immediately from the restart as another bustling run from Baines was again carried on by Fontaine, but, despite getting into Heath's 22, the attack came to nothing.

The rest of half was dominated by the home side as their bigger forwards began to take control.

Salem's cause was also not helped when Rhys Green eventually succumbed to his ankle injury and his namesake Jake was sent to the sin-bin for a no arms tackle.

With seven minutes of the second half played, Heath fly-half Dan Cole dummied his way over for fine individual try which Hinchliffe improved to give the hosts a 19-12 lead.

Heath started to turn the screw and, after Salem conceded a series of penalties on their own line, scrum half Dom Walsh broke blind from a five-metre scrum before sending Harriott-Brown over in the corner for his second try.

Five minutes later, in spite of some last ditch tackling by Salem, Heath went over for their fifth try and with the score now standing at 29-13, the contest was virtually over.

Harriet-Brown showed good strength to complete his hat-trick although there was more than a suspicion that he put a foot in touch before grounding the ball.

To compound Salem's misery, in the last play of the game, Cole stole the ball in contact in Salem's 22 before crossing for his second try, Hinchliffe adding the extras to seal a rather flattering 41-13 victory.