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Local Rugby League: Weakened Beverley held for the first time

EASTMOOR DRAGONS 22 – 22 BEVERLEY ARLFC (Saturday, June 23)

The Blue & Golds managed to salvage a point from a tense and stormy affair at Wakefield. Director of Rugby Pat Howdle considered it a point gained despite the loss of the team’s 100 per cent record.

He said ” We can be really proud of our efforts today. We had a few names missing and some of our youngsters had to step up to the plate today. Today was one of those season defining games.”

Beverley now sit five points clear of Clock Face, who won last Thursday, and seven points ahead of third placed Barrow Island, who slipped to a shock 42-16 defeat to Gateshead Storm. They face bottom club Stanley Rangers this coming Saturday.

A number of absentees forced some reshuffling. Beverley started with an unusual half-back combination of Alex Starling and Tom Moor and Louis Hubbard was handed a start at loose forward.

The home side took the lead after seven minutes through Danny Johnson, but Beverley responded quickly. A kick down-field was regathered by Steve Connolly, whose quick thinking saw him pass to the supporting Luke Shaw who sprinted away to score. Stand-in goalkicker Tom Moor converted. However, the restart kick was allowed to bounce into touch. The resulting set saw Jason Roberts regain the lead for the hosts with extras added.

Crucially, after 15 minutes, Eastmoor saw their centre dismissed for throwing a punch in the tackle. The following set saw the visitors force a line drop-out and shortly afterwards Louis Hubbard crashed over for an unconverted effort. An Eastmoor attack then saw them held up over the line before Beverley again attacked. Hubbard scored his second try in a man of the match performance. Moor converted.

The restart kick was again allowed to bounce into touch and the resulting pressure saw Ryan Thurston level things up with the conversion striking the post. The scores remained 16-16 at the break.

Five minutes into the second half, Steve Connolly, who had one of his finest games for the club, sneaked away from dummy to score and Moor to convert. Ten minutes later, Sam Coleman almost extended the visitor’s lead. Coleman appeared to have grounded the ball but was ruled to have been held up over the line. The decision seemed to be the cue for a fracas between several opposing players.

Midway through the second half Adrian Mulcahy went over to convert his own try to set up a tense final quarter. In the closing stages there were failed drop-goal attempts by both sides. Also, Tom Moor had a failed penalty attempt just as the game went into injury time.

The opposing pack was a bulky and physical one and in addition to Connolly and Hubbard, forwards Trevor Penrose, Luke Shaw and Alex Calvert were all vying for the plaudits.