Beverley 22-20 Wigan St Judes
The Blue and Golds breathed hope into their season and threw themselves a lifeline in the NCL Division 2 relegation battle. On a very warm afternoon, a somewhat patched-up lineup, as has been so often the case in an injury-ravaged campaign, looked to be going down tamely to defeat. Trailing 20-4 at the break, there seemed very little urgency or invention to their play. They then staged a terrific second-half revival.
With a huge sense of relief, Sam French commented “That was a massively important win for the group. The first half was probably our worst forty minutes of the season and fair credit to the opposition, they came with a plan to catch us out and it was working. Second half, the response from the group was nothing short of sensational. The attitude and effort required to prevent the opposition from scoring and to come back from 16 points down and win the game was fantastic. This is the win we needed to kick start our push. Another big week ahead, as we prepare for Crosfields.”
The home side were immediately under pressure as the kick-off went dead forcing the line drop-out. They then had to defend a number of repeat sets as they conceded penalty after penalty. Having withstood the early onslaught, they did get down the other end and take the lead in the 10th minute. Lewis Poskitt’s neat kick into the in-goal area was pounced on by Jonny Norman to score. The conversion struck the posts and came out again.
The visitors looked much the livelier in attack of the 2 sides in the first half. Connor Parkinson got on the end of a movement for them to cross with Danny Fallon converting for a 6-4 lead after 16 minutes. Shortly after Will Wallis did look as if he had restored Beverley’s lead when he was sent in under the posts but pulled back for a forward pass.
After 25 minutes Daryl King stretched the St Judes lead converted by Fallon to 12-4. In the 32nd minute, a mix-up by Beverley as they failed to deal with a St Judes kick, saw James Worthington pounce to score. Fallon again added the extras to make it 18-4. Shortly before the break, Fallon added a penalty goal to give the visitors a 20-4 interval lead.
The second half did see the home side tighten up in defence but the early minutes did see them pose very little threat in attack. The introduction of 17 years old Joe Dobson from the bench appeared to liven things up in attack. The opposition and referee concurred that he was the man of the match and pivotal in the result.
However, it took right up until the 64th minute before the hosts hit back. Bobby Howdle found a gap to score beneath the posts for Joe Dobson to convert. The 70th minute then saw one of Bobby Howdle’s runs find Glen Anfield in support to score. Joe Dobson again converting to peg back the deficit to 16-20.
Then as the visitors got down the other and looked to quell the comeback with a score of their own, a long pass was a little too adventurous. The pass was intercepted by Jonny Norman to race away and score in the corner. The touchline conversion was stroked over by Joe Dobson to give Beverley a 22-20 lead.
There was 5 minutes of normal time remaining but with drinks breaks and attention to a number of injuries, there was to be 10 minutes of stoppage time. The forwards were terrific at this point of the proceedings. Particularly, Sam Roe, Jake Hart-Fisher, Alex Nuttall and Will Wallis on his first game back. They ground out the yards and kept the ball tight and slowed the game down when it was required.
Tries: J. Norman (2), R. Howdle, G. Anfield
Goals: J. Dobson (3)