North Ribblesdale 5 Heath 59

PATRICK Muller suffered a hamstring injury to round off a nightmare game for North Ribblesdale on Saturday, as they fell to a heavy home defeat against Heath.

Heath scored five first-half tries to lead 35-5 at the break and they ran in a further four tries in the second period. Heath are chasing a play-off spot and Ribb were no match for their determined, aggressive rugby.

However, Ribb did not help themselves. They struggled to move the ball away from the visitors powerful pack and their offloading game gifted Heath three tries from interceptions.

They were also slow to get the ball to the powerful Ryan Sumner, who is a handful at at any level but was starved of quick ball.

There were some positives to take from the contest though. Mick Carr had a very good game and the midfield defence was secure, with Heath's tries tending to come from broken play or interceptions.

The lineout was solid too but Ribb could not cope with the pace and intensity of the game. Heath's back row won most of the loose ball and they did a lot of damage in that area.

Muller scored Ribb's only points of the contest before going off injured, a neat try showing what could be done with quick ball. Richard Lynn also battled hard after coming on as substitute and Sam Morphet had a tidy game at scrum-half.

Overall though, they struggled to come to terms with a rampant Heath side who will take confidence into their promotion push after this result.

Ribb are trapped in the relegation zone, two points adrift of Selby. They have Old Brodleians away this week, but they are notoriously poor at playing the hill at Brods and have lost games there in recent years by refusing to kick down the slope.

They may have to change those tactics if they are pick up a vital victory.