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LOCAL RUGBY UNION: Beavers show grit and resilience

Pontefract 24 v  32 Beverley RUFC 32 (Saturday, September 15)

This was an excellent, entertaining, game at Pontefract, where the newly-promoted and thus far unbeaten home side entertained a much-changed Beverley side. But already, after only three matches, the list of injuries suffered by the Beavers is mounting at a worrying rate.

The most serious is the damage suffered to influential stand-off and skipper Phil Duboulay, who last week had to undergo eye surgery and will be out of action for some time.

Notwithstanding that, the Beavers showed fine resilience and grit against a determined and physical Pontefract outfit. In particular Duboulay’s replacement Rob Smith had a fine game, hardly putting a foot wrong in keeping his back line moving in fine style.

Pontefract took an early lead through left-winger Richard Dedicoat (5-0), too wide out for the conversion, but Beverley soon hit back with a well-worked try from Sam Kerry (5-5), who claimed afterwards that he had made 25 metres to score when, in fact, it was more like 5 metres!

Play was pretty even at this point, with both sides playing some attractive running rugby. The Pontefract half-backs, Callum Watts and Glen Boyd, were prominent for the home side but Beverley went ahead after 25 minutes through a penalty from Rob Smith (5-8).

10 minutes later Pontefract went ahead when full-back Stewart Sanderson made a fine run shaking off several tackles to score a try, which Callum Watts converted (12-8).

The Beavers soon regained the lead in the second half when Alex McPeake crossed for a well-worked try (12-13) after five minutes, but two minutes later they lost Danny Morris to the sin bin for what looked like a harsh decision for a high tackle. It took only three minutes for Pontefract to take advantage of the extra man and winger Richard Dedicoat scored his second try which Callum Watts duly converted (19-13).

Beverley more than held their own in the forwards despite being a man short for the next ten minutes and, when back to full strength,  became increasingly dominant in the set pieces, pushing the heavier looking Pontefract forwards back regularly. 

Eventually this dominance began to tell and after half-an-hour the lively Luke Hazell scored a try which Rob Smith converted to re-take the lead (19-20). This score was quickly followed by a try from scrum-half Rob Wilhoite to secure the Beavers a bonus point (19-25). Rob Smith converted (19-27) and five minutes later Luke Hazell rubbed it in with his second try to put the Beavers beyond reach(19-32).

On the death Richard Dedicoat scored his third try and ensured a deserved bonus point for Pontefract (24-32).

This was an enjoyable, hard-fought game and it is very pleasing to see the character that this Beverley side have shown over the past couple of games. Picking the man of the match for Beverley was very difficult because all 18 played their part the consensus was that the whole front row should receive the accolade because of their skill in the set pieces.