Bradford Salem 14-21 Beverley

The second game of the season for Beverley RUFC found both the 1st team and the 2nd team travelling away from Beaver Park, both teams enjoying away wins which is a sign of positive progression on the rugby field for the club. The 1st XV were away to Bradford Salem in what was a very competitive game with two strong teams wanting to advance further after both winning the week before, the Beavers finishing on top in a very tight game. The 2nd XV playing their first game of the season with a ragtag talented squad travelling to Bridlington to play their second team, the team had little cohesion as they had never trained together, but there was enough talent and skill on show to pull off what looked on paper to be an unlikely away win 12 – 25, well done fellas.

All rugby teams playing yesterday observed a minute’s silence before the game in memory of her Majesty the Queen who reigned for seven decades of unfailing service and became the embodiment of duty and loyalty, our condolences to the family from all at Beverley RUFC.

In Bradford, after the minute’s silence, both teams started well and it was crunch tackling and big hits right from the start in an end-to-end game throughout. Beverley have become better at game management in recent seasons and although they squandered an opportunity to score a fantastic intercept try that went from one end of the pitch to the other, one minute later they were shrewd enough to kick the first points of the game from a scrum penalty, the only other points in the first half came again from the boot of Captain, Rob Smith after an infringement at the ruck, and the half finished 0 – 6.

The game was very well managed by referee Gavin Pender who was technically right when he sent off Mark Hodgson in the 45th minute for a high tackle. This swung the pendulum in favour of the home team who would, within two minutes, maul over the line for a converted try from the ensuing penalty line out, 7 – 6 to Bradford. On 55 minutes a great piece of individual flair with Capt Smith jinking through the defensive line to dot down under the posts without a touch, 7 – 13. On 63 minutes sensing the game was by no means over, Smith chose to kick a penalty conversion for a head-high tackle to give just a little bit of daylight to the scoreline, 7 – 16. Bradford were certainly not finished and ramped up their performance to really challenge the Beavers, which culminated in a yellow card for Gavin Jenny and ultimately a try in the corner that was very well converted which made the score 14 – 16 with 10 very tense minutes to play.

The momentum was with Bradford, but Beverley were resolute in their tackling and scramble defence, although there was a sense that the home team were going to finish with a win amongst the home supporters, and maybe even some of the travelling supporters. That hope was distinguished when a loose ball was gathered through a broken line and Joe Slater was able to find the speed merchant Jake Boardman who took the ball at pace and was able to cover 50 yards to claim the victory for Beverley with a try on 78 minutes. The missed conversion meant that the kick-off needed to be claimed safely to secure the win, and Andrew Meagher did exactly that, from the subsequent breakdown the ball was kicked into touch and the game was done, Bradford 14 Beverley 21.

Rob Smith was awarded man of the match, and rightly so, but there were strong performances across the whole squad, especially the forwards, who dominated the big Bradford pack, and at one point with only seven in the scrum were able to push over the Bradford eight-man scrum, which they were particularly pleased about, and so they should be. The icing on the cake was the news in the clubhouse that the 2nd XV had also got an excellent result away at Bridlington.

Although this was an exciting game and an excellent result away from home against the top team in the league, the players and most notably head coach Craig Hancock knew that we have not played to our best abilities and invited the guys to perform better in the next home game, which is Saturday 17th against Dinnington at Beaver Park, the first game at home in our 50th season at Beaver Park. It will be a celebratory day for the club. There will be no gate entry charge, a bouncy castle, ice cream van and the usual fun and games at your community rugby club. Please come along and support the Beavers.

Brian Gilbert