Beverley RUFC Under-15’s were missing some key players when they visited Malton and although they lost 26-10 they emerged with heads held high.
With regulars Ben Wilkinson (back row), Sam Acaster (centre), and Tom Barnard (full back) all unavailable, Beverley needed to reshuffle the team to give the required cover.
Malton opened the scoring after just three minutes with a converted try from their full back, after some surging play from their hefty forwards, followed just a minute after the restart, by a second (unconverted) try.
Although the Beverley pack tried to compete at the breakdowns they were often guilty of not getting beyond the ball to secure the next phase while, at the set piece, they were simply being out-muscled. Despite some dogged defence from Beverley two further tries from Malton in the next 15 minutes left the match looking as if it was going to be all one-way traffic.
With full back Ben Ashley forced to leave through injury Beverley were forced to bring on forward Barney Malster to play out of position in the backs. However, Malster adapted quickly and, on the stroke of half-time, found himself running a great angle to slice through the Malton defence and cross far out on the right wing for his debut Beverley try. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt from Alex Nuttall drifted left of the posts in the strong breeze.
Coming back from a 26-5 deficit was always going to be a tough call, but Beverley dug in and showed some real determination. They carried the momentum with them, putting pressure on the Malton defence from the start of the second half.
A good move from Jasper Ghio tied up the Malton’s forwards, allowing the ball to be quickly popped out to Harrison Petrie who crossed for a solid try after just two minutes of the half. Beverley continued to tackle well and moved the ball efficiently through the backs. Unfortunately, the ad-hoc structuring enforced by the changes in the squad line-up meant that the backs’ plays were not as slick or inventive as usual and the team were not able to capitalise on field position.
More injury related changes saw Olly Waites and Jasper Law joining the fray. Beverley’s determined play, especially the strength of character being shown by forwards Petrie, Ben Walker, and Josh Dillon, was clearly rattling Malton, and they began to lose their composure and self-control.
And, despite repeated warnings from the referee, the referee abandoned the game with some five minutes still to go.