The first game of the season kicked off for Beverley on Saturday against Old Brodleians, at Halifax. Beverley travelled with high hopes having had good pre-season training and warm up matches, however, if the cliché a game of two halves is ever true, this match epitomised it.
Beverley got their season off to a great start over the first half of this game. After absorbing early pressure, Rob Smith was able to pick the ball up from deep within his own half, break away and run 40 yards up the pitch incline to halfway before kicking cleverly to reach support from Jacob Holmes, who made a further 30 yards and had support from captain Phil Duboulay for the final offload on the first try of the season, and what a try! Five minutes later the captain was able to intercept a poorly timed pass by the home team and able to run over under the posts from 35 yards, making the score 0-14.
Playing up the hill, which Beverley chose to do having won the toss, had set expectations that Beverley were currently exceeding. It was inevitable that Old Brods would reply and they did so with two converted tries and then a penalty. Beverley finished the half stronger with two further tries. The first of which was on 29 minutes after an excellent break and 30 yards from Rhys Innes. The subsequent breakdown was finished off by man of the match, Isaac Keighley. The fourth (and final try for Beverley) just before half-time saw Jacob Holmes finish off an excellent darting line break from Jack Housman. Half-time and Beverley were winning 17-28 and had bagged the four try bonus point and looked good for the second half, playing down the hill, in the sunshine.
Unfortunately Beverley lost their shape in the second half and although they absorbed lots of pressure from the home team, failed to show the attacking prowess they did going up the hill in the first half. Two tries, both of which were converted on 47 and 52 minutes from the home team gave them the lead 31-28 which was to be the final score. One try in those 40 minutes would probably have sealed the game for Beverley, and the way they played in the first half, all the travellers had good cause to expect that for the first time in recent years, we would get an away victory at Old Brodleians. Maybe that was part of the problem. Losing captain Phil Duboulay half way through the second half with a knock to the head, certainly would not have helped and some ill-discipline towards the end saw yellow cards for Luke Hazel and Alfie Hart-Fisher.
This was a great performance by Beverley in the first half, which left the team and travelling supporters feeling they have missed an opportunity. Never the less, two league points and signs are good for attractive free-flowing rugby at Beaver Park in what will be an exciting and competitive league, 3pm KO against Leodiensians on 14th is the first home game, all welcome.
The club would like to take this opportunity to wish the normal match day reporter and ex-Chairman Malcolm Cunningham all very best for a speedy recovery. We hope to see you back at Beaver Park very soon - to do the match reports!