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Rugby Union: Defeat dashes hopes of second place

Wheatley Hills 29 – 24  Beverley RUFC (Saturday April 14)

Beverley’s hopes of securing second place in the league and a play-off match for promotion were well and truly dashed by this defeat on a sunny afternoon in South Yorkshire. But this was always going to be a tough game, with the home side needing a win to stave off chances of relegation.

Wheatley Hills have a formidable set of forwards and looked to use their driving power at every opportunity.

After three minutes Beverley conceded their customary penalty, which was duly converted by stand-off Owen Gilvrey  to give the home team a 3-0 lead.

A few minutes later another indiscretion by Beverley led to Raymond Coates being sent to the sin bin. From the resulting penalty the home team drove to the Beverley line and scrum half Josh Taylor was on hand to score a try. Gilvey converted and soon after kicked another three points from another penalty to make the score 13-0.

Back at full strength, Beverley began to get back into the game. It was apparent that Beverley possessed much more pace in the back line and they nearly used it to good effect, but a try by Alex Hodgkinson was disallowed for a forward pass. On 25 minutes, however, full-back Luke Hazell finished off a move with a 30 metre dash to the corner.

From the resulting kick-off Beverley scored what was probably the try of the season. Collecting the ball in their own 22 Beverley went the full length of the field in an attack that involved  all the backs, resulting in James Graham scoring.  Phil Duboulay converted to reduce the deficit to one point.  

Shortly after, another move led to Hodkinson being tackled just short of the try line but the alert Alfie Hart-Fisher scooped the ball up and dived over in the corner to give Beverley a four point lead.

It looked as though Beverley  were going to get on top but a further Wheatley Hills penalty on half time reduced that lead to one point.

The second half began, very much the same as the first with a further two home team penalties in the first 20 minutes, which made the score 22- 17 in their favour.

On 20 minutes Beverley took the lead when, following sustained pressure, scrum-half Rob Wilhoite darted over from the base of the scrum; Duboulay  duly coverting.

Ten minutes from time former Beverley player, prop Sam Kerry, smashed his way 30 metres up the touch line past four defenders to score what would be the match-winning score.

Beverley mustered a final assault on the home line, coming close on several occasions. When a penalty was awarded their way they opted for a five metre scrum.  From it they drove the Wheatley Hills pack , but when it looked as if Beverley would score, the scrum collapsed.

Much to the surprise of those watching the referee penalised Beverley and, as a result, the home side were cleverly able to keep the ball in their forwards and run down the clock.

It was an entertaining game but disappointing that once again Beverley gave away more penalties than the opposition.  They really need to learn to play with the referee’s interpretation of the laws of the game rather than in spite of it.