Beverley 34-30 Huddersfield YM
The supporters and guests at Beaver Park yesterday were treated to an early Christmas present from the players of Huddersfield YMCA and Beverley. Both teams battling to the end and delivering a very entertaining game of rugby with a thrilling finish. A crunch game, two mid-table teams needing to find more points in the league, who delivered an exhilarating afternoon of rugby with the home team finishing victorious 34-30.
Christmas dinners were still being enjoyed in the packed clubhouse having a very festive theme, when the game kicked off and within five minutes Huddersfield made their mark on the game with the first of 10 tries in 80 minutes, some poor tackling allowing a wide break and finish in the corner. After a missed penalty a few minutes later from Beverley, a line break by Rob Smith playing fullback, who proved a nuisance all afternoon to the travelling team was able to offload to Jake Boardman in support to level the score 5-5. On 14 minutes another missed penalty kept the scores in parity until the 25th minute when Huddersfield were able to score a pushover try which was this time converted, and although Beverley had played arguably the more skilful game, they found themselves 5-12 behind the visitors who were using more physical tactics.
Once again, Beverley had to string together a team that was different to any previous week in the season, some players having to play out of position due to unavailability and injury, but the heart was there and the determination and some of the passing throughout the game was exceptional, something that has been missing in recent weeks. The Beverley forwards certainly held their own against a much bigger pack, and after securing the ball on 35 minutes from a scrum in the opponents 22 were able to show those quick hands, passing the full with the pitch for winger Steve Payne to crossover, uncharacteristically not converted by Phil Duboulay, who had a good game, but didn’t have his kicking boots with him today.
After the penalty conversion for the visitors Duboulay put his mark fairly and squarely on the game with an individual line break and sprint to the line to finish under the posts where he was able to convert easily, to finish the half in the lead for the first time in the match 17-15. It was a cold afternoon and overcast, the players were keen to get on with the second half, in particular Kyle Tetley outside centre for the visitors who was a menace all afternoon, scored a great individual try to put Huddersfield back in the lead. Ten minutes later, from a threatening scrum, Huddersfield were able to get over for another try, and it looked as though they were pulling away from the home team, 17 – 27. On 58 minutes though Beverley showed the determination to stay in the game again with crisp passing this time allowing Rob Smith (man of the match) to finish the move himself. However, a penalty conversion for holding on onto the ball against Beverley, give Huddersfield a crucial eight point advantage as we entered the last ten minutes of the game 22-30.
Beverley had to score twice in 10 minutes to secure the points, and although there was the skill to do this in the field, with the opportunity arise? Indeed two minutes into the ten, a good line break and some great support gave Smith his second try of the game, almost converted from the touchline it set up a grandstand finish to what had been an entertaining game of rugby. As the clock went into the red, the very last play of the game saw Beverley daring to pass the ball through many hands, to eventually find Rhys Innes who had a wonderful game at 8 for the Beavers, making the line break towards the try line, and selflessly offload to Mike Meluish to make sure the home team got over the try line to steal the points, duly converted by Duboulay, the final score 34-30.
Both teams played their part in delivering great entertainment to all guests and supporters at Beaver Park who appreciated their skill and efforts throughout the afternoon. The result set the tone for a great atmosphere in the clubhouse were the beer, wine & cheese and mince pies flowed freely for all, whilst listening and dancing to live music from the Corsairs. On days like this you forget your troubles and enjoy the moment, Merry Christmas.
Report by: Brian Gilbert