THIS battle was as close as it probably should be between the top two teams.

The fact that the leaders came out on top, and for a fourth successive game, speaks volumes.

Matt Farr’s changes, introducing experienced hands off the bench, made telling contributions.

None more so than former first-team captain Harry Stubbs.

Not only did he have a calming effect on his return from a couple of seasons out of full-time rugby, he also scored the decisive try.

The arrival of stalwarts Will Burgess and Joe Robbins, looking as fit and strong as they have ever been, five minutes into the second half put added strength into the pack – a move which paid off with Winnington taking control.

And after five persistent minutes of pressure inside the Heaton 15 metre line Stubbs drove through Heaton’s defence for the killer try, converted by Cameron Flanagan, with 10 minutes to go.

Park, who travel to Didsbury on Saturday, dropped to second in the league on points difference.

Park: Underdown, Johnson, Taylor, Snowden, Hallworth, Dykes, D Williams, Glendinning, J Williams, Flanagan, Pugh, Moran, R Williams, Sheppard, Allmark. Replacements:, Burgess, Stubbs, Robbins, Critchley.