Beverley 10-17 Pontefract

The visitors to Beaver park were Pontefract RUFC, flying high in the Yorkshire One table, and needing just one more victory to secure promotion. Their spirits were raised further upon arrival when they realised it was Ladies Day at Beverley RUFC. The weather and atmosphere couldn’t have been better at Beaver Park for a wonderful day of rugby and glamour. The game flowed well and proved entertaining but throughout there was a sense that the more dominant in-form team were going to prevail, which they did, the visitors running out victorious 10 – 27 and securing their promotion.

Beverley actually started the brighter of the two teams and good early pressure was finally rewarded with a try on 14 minutes with a good line break, kick and chase from Luke Hazel, and the ball sat up nicely for James Williams to power over in the corner. Phil Duboulay the regular goalkicker and master tactician was missing due to illness, and his presence was to be missed throughout the afternoon. The conversion was close from the sidelines but faded from the stand-in flyhalf Rob Smith. Pontefract were here to play and their backs and forwards were well-coordinated, which showed in comparison to Beverley who had missing players due to injury, and the depleted squad also had players playing out of position. On 20 minutes Ponty scored the first of their four tries, a first phase move from a scrum in the Beverley 22, which was well converted. The arm wrestle continued, without any further points in the first half, 5-7.

The second half commenced with Pontefract determined to impose themselves on the game, and they pressured the Beverley try line for almost 15 minutes before they finally spread the ball wide to finish in the corner for an unconverted try. Beverley’s scramble offence was good, much better than had been against Bridlington two weeks before, but the pressure was relentless. There were moments in the game when Beverley had the ball that looked promising with slick hands and impressive running lines. There were a number of breaks which against lesser teams would have resulted in points, but the visitors’ defence was well coordinated and the breakdown usually finished with a handling error from the Beavers to turnover possession. On 28 minutes the killer blow came when another first phase move from a scrum saw the visitors go over in the corner, unconverted, 5 – 17.

Beverley were not down and out. Something that the Beavers should pride themselves on is their perseverance. It’s been a tough season but their never say die attitude has prevailed throughout. What looked to be a “hospital pass” to young winger Jacob Baggs who found himself isolated with three players to beat to get to the corner try line, showed great dexterity and flexibility to twist and turn and get to the corner. Although Ponty were the dominant team Beverley still packed a punch. 10 minutes to go 10 – 17. Pontefract sensed the risk and read the situation well, and took the opportunity to take a penalty 35 yards out to make it a two-point score game. With the clock ticking down it felt as though the game had now slipped out of reach, and that was most certainly the case when the away team were able to turnover Beverley ball, with a quick kick and go play which bounced kindly for them to dot down near the posts, duly converted, final score 10 – 27.

The game was played in great spirits and refereed well by Laurence Pearson. Both teams enjoyed the celebratory atmosphere, the visitors very happy with their achievements, which were thoroughly deserved and we wish them well for next season. Blended with the ladies’ day atmosphere the club was “buzzing” and everybody regardless of the result was having a great time enjoying the special social setting rugby union clubs enjoy. Danny Morris was deemed man of the match by the ladies, and after a fun-filled day for all, the club was able to reflect positively on being able to raise c£2700 for the Cherry Tree Community Centre and c£460 for the Ukrainian humanitarian appeal. Special thanks and recognition needs to go to Carol Innes, Kate Dalton, Neil and Sharon Botham who organised this wonderful event.

Brian Gilbert