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Rugby Union: Beverley win, but rain puts a dampener on quality rugby

Beverley RUFC 24 – 19 Moortown (Saturday September 8)

By Malcolm Cunningham

Beverley kicked off in this Yorks League Division 1 league match in persistent drizzle and Moortown immediately mounted a series of attacks, which Beverley did well to defend. Moortown looked strong and managed to retain possession very well. 

However, after 10 minutes of play and without seeing much of the ball, Beverley at last managed to get hold of it and, for the first time, put together a series of passes which saw them into Moortown’s half and Luke Hazell threaded his way through the visitors’ defence to score close in. Phil Duboulay added the extras to make the score 7-0- and the Beavers then settled down and began to play some good rugby despite the rapidly deteriorating conditions. 

However, the Moortown wing Tom Moorby intercepted just inside his own half and made a powerful run into Beverley’s 22 to feed stand off Eddie Crossland who crossed too wide out for the conversion.

Beverley hit back three minutes later when Phil Duboulay made a good break and fed the ball out to Rob Smith on the left wing who touched down (12-5) – again too wide out for the conversion.

After 30 minutes new centre Liam Butler made a powerful break from the half-way line. He was hauled down a metre short but Dale Hodgson was on hand to finish off the move (17-5) and Phil Duboulay converted (19-5).

The first half ended with a most spectacular try. Moortown were pressing the Beverley line in the top corner when full back Luke Hazell intercepted a pass and ran fully 75 metres to score at the other end (24-5). This was a sickener for the visitors who had contributed their all in the half and must have felt extremely unlucky to be 19 points adrift after it. 

Half Time Beverley 24 – 5 Moortown

The persistent drizzle of the first half had now become a steady downpour and, not surprisingly, the standard of rugby reflected it. 

Credit to Moortown, they adapted better  – whether it was due to the rain or their coach’s half-time pep talk! They dominated this half and again retained possession for long periods. Beverley were obliged to defend for virtually the whole 40 (+10 minutes!!).

Wave after wave of Moortown attacks were repelled by the excellent Beavers’ defence, although the Moortown 10 did break through to score under the posts for a converted try (24-12) after 60 minutes.

More of the same followed in what had now developed into monsoon conditions. No doubt as a result of that, the final 20 (+10 minutes) consisted of a stream of penalties, mostly to Moortown and ended with the inevitable penalty try to Moortown (24-19).

It is a pity that the appalling weather ruined what promised to be an entertaining game at the start, but, under the circumstances, all concerned deserve credit for sticking it out.

On the down side for Beverley they picked up some nasty looking injuries to Phil Duboulay, Craig Hancock and Sam Kerry to add to the already mounting queue in Nicky Grayson’s treatment room. On the plus side Ben Skirving showed his class with a powerful display at No 8 and Liam Butler also showed up prominently.

Beverley’s man of the match was Rob Smith , particularly for his defending in the second half.