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Rugby Union: Beverley back to winning ways

MOORTOWN 24  – 32 BEVERLEY

This was more like it.  Not a great performance by any means, but vastly improved from the dismal showing of the previous week and, in the end, a comfortable bonus point win.  In truth, as a spectacle, this was a pretty drab affair with not much running rugby and a relentless stream of penalties being awarded throughout.

The return of skipper Phil Duboulay was welcome and this contributed to Beverley looking the more polished side.  The final score was probably a fair reflection of the overall play.

To nobody’s surprise, given their record this season, Beverley gave away a penalty in the first minute and Moortown promptly took the lead through fly half Daryl Gaunt.  Beverley in the early stages struggled to get out of their own half, but their first foray into enemy territory brought a smartly taken converted try by Jacob Holmes following a clever switch in midfield.

They then made a mess of the restart, knocking on on their own line and Moortown number 8 Bernie Taulealo picked up from the resulting five metre scrum to go over for a try, which Gaunt converted.

After quarter of an hour Beverley were back in the lead at 14-10 with another converted try by Jack Houseman after a powerful drive by the pack from 20 metres out.  Beverley still continued to find it hard to get out of their own half but when they did they made the most of it.  Oddly enough, they looked as dangerous in the home half as they looked suspect in their own.

On half an hour another rare Beverley attack brought a second try and this more or less proved to be the defining score.  Jack Howdle made inroads down the middle and when the ball was moved quickly left from the breakdown, Luke Hazell had a simple run to the line.

Phil Duboulay missed the conversion but soon afterwards kicked a penalty.  At 22-10 that was virtually that and Beverley never really looked back.  On the stroke of halftime a fine counter-attacking run by Moortown wing Tom Moorby did bring a second converted home try for centre Hushdon Tohavaka, reducing it to 22-17, but you still had the feeling that Beverley were not now going to let one this slip.

The second half belonged almost entirely to them.  Moortown have a robust weighty pack and their big men with ball in hand were not to be trifled with.  But the young Beverley forwards acquitted themselves splendidly, such that the home forwards were able to make little headway.

Lewis Starbuck made an impact from the bench and the line-outs improved after he came on.  Overall, Beverley showed more finesse in their back play, where Jacob Holmes was a constant livewire on the wing.  For practically all of the third quarter Beverley were camped on the home line.  Moortown gave away penalty after penalty for which Beverley invariably opted for a scrum without being able to make it count.

In the end Beverley did make something of it.  The pack drove to the line and Will Harrison picked up to dive over in the corner. Duboulay converted from the touchline and quickly followed it with another successful penalty kick at goal, which took Beverley to 32-17.  It was now really all over bar the shouting and the game petered out in the steady drizzle.

Beverley several times came close to adding to their lead; Hazell and Holmes combining in a spectacular attack down the left only for the try scoring pass to be adjudged forward. Then Houseman charged down a clearance kick which Moortown somehow managed to scramble away.

In the final minutes an intended Beverley box kick on halfway was intercepted and Moorby had a clear run to the line for a third converted home try, which rather spoilt Beverley’s winning margin.  Still, this was a bonus point victory and with Duboulay’s return and his five out of six successful kicks at goal it made for a generally satisfactory afternoon.