After a long break caused by Christmas and Covid cancelling the Christmas game, we were finally back in action. Stocksbridge cried off, they must have heard of our magnificent form, don’t mention the Wharfedale incident! Apart from that unbeaten since October. So we were stuck in ‘The Pool of Despair’ but ‘Saint’ Mike Fort managed to rescue the week by getting us an away fixture at Selby. Much appreciated.
So we travelled to North Yorkshire with a strong 16 man squad plus four disabled lads. The four league lads one of which was debutant Simon Newton choosing tighthead prop to make his Rugby Union start. Not always the smartest choice but you’ve got to admire the courage. We were without the University contingent, with the exception of Bailey. They were all being babied at home trying to recover from a hard term of doing sweet FA!
So we arrived very early prepared properly and almost looked like a proper side! Our opposition sadly showed signs of…. experience. We had to be careful not to be ‘old manned’ as they clearly had a few centuries of experience in their side.
I once again won the toss despite their captain trying to flip the coin and just dropping it on the floor. We elected to play down the mild slope and get off to a flying start. It became very clear, very early that they were no mugs. They had a few technically strong players in the pack, their captain and number 8 stood out. They also had a couple of strong rugby league style players further wide. So we battled hard and our leaders, after sustained pressure, started to pull the strings.
Our first score came after a turnover scrum on their 22. Apparently sneaking in two first team props was a little underhand but hey ho. So I broke from 8, popped to Cadogan on a tight line, who was tackled just by the full back, but off loaded neatly for our first score. Our second try came from a quick snipe from Giblin at 9 to cross from about 20m. They then came back at us with constant pressure before repeated short thrusts penetrated Cooky between the legs.
Next came ‘that kick off’, Parry hoisted it high and it hung on the wind. When it eventually came down it had snow on it. Their 7 called, caught it neatly, then went backwards, very quickly. It lead to a turnover and we scored within two phases. So then came kick off number 2. Parry called to me that it was the same again. The 7 who’d managed to finally get back up shouted ‘All day long’! So Parry kicked an exact duplicate kick. I charged and had to slam on the breaks and managed to catch the kick off on the second attempt. We went forward and the next phase I went over for a try in the corner.
They then tried to stem the flow and came back at us again and after a few neat plays their winger managed to out pace me to the corner.
They kicked off to us and Pringle once again failed to even try and catch the kickoff? But Justin recovered it well and we went forward. I took a crash and snuck through just the full back to beat, 40 yards to go and Cooky to my left. I dummied to Cooky, the full back lost his indecision and came for me so the second time the ball went to Cooky and he was clean through with 30 yards to go. The defence all stopped. So he ran for the line. Realising just how slow he was they started to chase and two backs with a combined age of over 100 then used their experience to close the gap quickly. We all screamed for him to sprint, then to dive. He got tackled but he cleared the line by at least 0.4cm and came up looking very happy with himself.
Late on in the first half we had fast hands in the backs which caused a break with Parry getting on the end of it. He had just the full back to beat and support on both sides. So he dummied both support players and scored from roughly 25m. That was about it for the first half. So we went into the break with a comfortable lead but very much still in the fight.
The second half started up the slope and we had brought on the reinforcements debutant Simon came on to influence the scrum, Bailey had a spell at 7, practically the same as 13. Luke H came on the wing to try and keep improving. And Ian A was brought on to add some experience. Parry went off, vastly strengthening the side! Eddie had a rest, Jack had a short rest. Alistair had a short rest too.
Simply put the second half was an onslaught. They had a few fine moments, Simon’s first attempt at tight head prop lead to a couple of flying lessons before he tried hooker and second row. He did however look proficient with ball in hand. Bailey covered a lot of ground from 7. Ian was solid. Luke H was the pick of the subs with a twenty yard run, unlucky to be caught by the full back. He also made a very neat try saving tackle near the end of the game. Big improvement, keep it up!
That was about it really, oh apart from Oliver Smithies running in 4 tries. Making him the only person in the try quadruple club, must try harder next week mate. Turns out his Rugby League training might not have been a complete waste of time.
Special thank you to our hosts who were superb and made a 71-10 victory feel like a tightly fought contest. Plus a good Craic in the bar afterwards. Looking forward to hosting you in the future.
Also thanks to the first 15 squad players who took the step up to play for us too. Much appreciated.
Oliver Smithies x4
James Giblin x2
Steve Parry x2
Steve Parry 8/11