AFTER five weeks on the road, Heworth finally got their National Conference League Premier Division home campaign underway against Kells.

However, it was not the return they had hoped for, with the Cumbrian outfit narrowly edging a tense and gripping encounter 11-10 at Elmpark Way.

With the two sides level in the table on four points and The Villagers one place above their opponents by virtue of a slightly better points difference, it always had the makings of a close-run affair.

And so it proved with the visitors slotting the match winning drop-goal with just five minutes left on the clock.

The hosts trailed 6-4 at the break but were made to rue their missed chances after dominating possession and territory early in the second half to earn themselves a 10-6 lead.

Instead, their failure to maintain their momentum ultimately cost them the chance of victory.


Both teams started well, making strong yardage and creating good field position with some impressive handling, but neither was able to penetrate their opponent’s defence.

As such, it wasn’t until the 25th minute that the visitors finally broke the deadlock with a try by second-rower Clarke Chambers which was improved by influential scrum-half Dom Wear.

Five minutes later, Heworth reduced the deficit to two points when scrum-half Liam Jackson put forward Liam Richmond over for an unconverted score and things remained that way until half time.

The Villagers came out with renewed intent after the break and after a strong period of pressure they went in front with six minutes of the half played.

Kells failed to gather a high attacking kick from Jackson and substitute Liam Watling was on hand to snap up the loose ball and charge over to touch down.

Stand-off Jack Sadler slotted the extras to put Heworth 10-6 ahead.

The Black and Whites, with the momentum in their favour, continued to look threatening, but were just not able to press home their advantage.

AThat allowed the visitors back into the contest, and on 70 minutes they levelled with a try wide out on the left edge by winger Aaron Burns.

With all to play for, the hosts rallied to put pressure on the Kells line and it looked as if they had produced the winning score when loose forward Jack Earl forced his way over from close range.

However, he was denied by the referee who ruled that he had failed to ground the ball.

It was still not over though and with five minutes remaining the visitors worked their way upfield, and full-back Grant Gainford’s drop-goal just crept over the crossbar to seal the contest and leave Heworth to ponder what might have been.

For the second consecutive week Liam Jackson scooped The Villagers’ Man of the Match award.

Next Saturday another Cumbrian outfit, Wath Brow Hornets are the visitors to Elmpark Way (2:30pm)