FR: Beverley 16-20 Skirlaugh

This was another very encouraging performance by the Blue and Golds as they signed off their pre-season preparations for 2022 with a narrow defeat. Trevor Penrose commented ” We need not be downhearted about that one, we went toe to toe with one of the promotion favourites from division one and nearly pinched it at the death”.

The style of performance will have pleased the coaching staff. They were never afraid to try the unconventional which contributed to an entertaining encounter in the pleasant Spring-like conditions at the Leisure Centre. The performance of a number of youngsters – not least Francis Coggle, Charlie Gay, Jonny Norman and Alex Nutall will have given food for thought for the future.

Lewis Poskitt made a welcome return in the halves and very soon but his mark on the game. After only 4 minutes Poskitt’s cross-field kick was palmed back inside by Jonny Norman. Poskitt regathered the ball to score beside the posts. Josh Poskitt added the extras.

In the 10th minute, a scrum win on the halfway line saw an enterprising kick downfield by Lewis Poskitt. The kick found Lewis Miller in acres of space and the winger outpaced the chasing cover to score wideout. The extras were not added. As the visitors began to enjoy more possession and territory, they crossed for a try courtesy of Josh Oliver and goaled by Ryan Hilton midway through the half.

The home side had to defend more sets close to their own line as the half wore on. The pressure took it’s toll and Tom Danby crossed for the visitors in the 30th minute. The conversion was missed. The scores remained level at 10-10 going into the break.

The early moments of the second half saw Skirlaugh pile on the pressure close to the host’s line. A speculative long pass went to ground but bounced up into the hand of Lewis Miller who raced away. The winger, who did well to evade the attentions of a number of cover defenders in pursuit, touched down in the opposite corner. Josh Poskitt converted for a 16-10 lead.

As the second half wore on, Skirlaugh enjoyed more of the play and the penalty count weighed in their favour. Beverley scrambled well in defence, especially close to their own line. They could not hold out forever and Alex Gilby crossed for the visitors in the 57th minute. Loclan Fitzgerald converted to level the scores at 16-16.

In the 71st minute, Beverley conceded a line drop-out and the resulting set saw Josh Oliver score his second try. The conversion was missed but Skirlaugh were ahead for the first time at 20-16.
As the clock ticked down, there were a couple of gilt-edged chances for the home side to snatch victory. A break from deep inside his own half by Francis Coggle saw Billy Riby screaming alongside in support. The Skirlaugh cover defence managed to bring Coggle to ground before he could get a pass away.

Right on the stroke of full time, the ball was shipped to left deep in the Beverley half, in a final throw of the dice. Lewis Miller broke into the clear then got a pass away to the supporting Jonny Norman. Norman’s pass to another supporting player went to ground and the final whistle blew.

Nick Robinson