Normanton Knights 28-18 Beverley
The Blue and Golds made this short West Yorkshire trip more in hope than expectation, with an injury list too long to mention. Beverley had to dig deep into their playing staff and handed NCL debuts to Will Turnbull, Joe Dobson, Sam Beardshaw and Macca Cromack. It turned out to be a brave effort against a far bulkier and more experienced home outfit. They had to defend numerous sets close to their own line which in the end took it’s toll. However, better set completion when they had the ball maybe could have seen them get something from the game.
In charge for the day, with Sam French having work commitments, Phil Horsfield commented “We talked before the game about commitment, playing for each other and having a good dig. In the first 20 minutes, we had a few chances but lacked the composure to turn them into points. Thought our forwards were excellent and the backs got through a lot of work too. Overall I couldn’t be more proud of the boys for their effort and commitment. There will be a few sore bodies in the morning.”
The opening 20 minutes did see the hosts threw everything at Beverley. There was a 40/20 in there and subsequent repeat set but they were more than equal to the task in defending. They were also severely tested under the high ball with Callum Bielby and both wingers Beau English and Lewis Miller doing well in this area. The visitors did threaten a score in the 10th minute when a sweeping move to the left, with Francis Coggle involved, saw the ball go ground and roll into touch as the line beckoned.
The hosts took the lead in the 21st minute when Jacob Crossland chipped ahead from inside his own half and regathered to touch down and Charlie Barker to convert. On the half-hour mark, the pressure in doing so much defending told as Connor Wilson ran a good angle to touch down beside the posts and Barker to convert for a 12-0 lead.
As half-time approached the visitors were making more inroads with the ball in hand and deservedly got on the scoreboard. Good offloads by Jack Howdle and Joe Morley led to Lewis Miller taking the ball to step inside and score a well-taken try in the 38th minute. Bobby Howdle converted to peg the scores back to 6-12. In a cruel blow, the restart kick bounced awkwardly into touch giving the home side possession close to the Beverley line. The resulting set then saw Joe Abson cross and Barker convert to give Normanton an 18-6 lead at the break.
Seven minutes into the second half, Normanton increased their lead to 22-6 courtesy of a Bradley Moules try which was not improved.
The visitors still refused to lie down, and the forwards ably led by Jack Howdle and numerous menacing runs by man of the match Bobby Howdle, continued to go toe to toe with the opposition.
They were rewarded in the 66th minute when Francis Coggle’s chip ahead saw the opposing full-back fumble the ball. Coggle regathered to sprint away and score. Bobby Howdle converted to reduce the arrears to 12-22.
In a familiar theme of the afternoon, the home side very soon hit back with a try on 70 minutes. Stuart Biscome crossed converted by Barker. There was to be a final twist in the 75th minute. Jack and Bobby Howdle both combined to send Will Turnbull over. Joe Dobson this time added the extras.
Tries: J. Abson, J. Crossland, S. Biscomb, C. Wilson, B. Moules
Goals: C. Barker (4)
Tries: F. Coggle, L. Miller, W. Turnbull
Goals: R. Howdle (2), J. Dobson