The Rain had eased and kick off time saw bright and breezy conditions enjoyed by a large crowd at Beaver park, anticipating a feast of rugby following Beverley’s comprehensive win the previous week.
Prior to the kick off the players and crowd respectfully acknowledged the recent passing of Pat (The Hat) Nolan, a bastion of Beverley Rugby Club over many years, with an impeccable one minutes silence.
The match turned out to be the very epitome of “A game of two halves” and provided excitement, controversy and tension for both sets of spectators.
Beverley were slow to find their stride and after 7min Bridlington took advantage of some poor Beverley handling Scott Stevens clear up some loose ball, sprint 35meters and score in the left-hand corner. The lengthy conversion was secured by Bridlington no 10 Matiu Welch. (0-7)
The crowd, bolstered by “the Old Boys Reunion” were expecting a rapid response from Beverley, which didn’t materialise and on 10 minutes some lazy tackling by Beverley resulted in a penalty to Bridlington. Once again Welch slotted between the posts giving Brid a 10 Point cushion. (0-10)
Talk of the previous weeks dominating display seemed a distant memory when on 15 minutes Beverley gave way another penalty virtually under the posts for not releasing. Easy pickings for Welch who was turning in a fine performance with the boot. (0-13)
A period of equal exchanges followed with both sides showing plenty of endeavour without breaking the opponents’ defensive line. After 21 minutes a careful build-up by the Brid forwards enabled the ball came to the hands of Welch who displayed fancy footwork worthy of “celebrity come dancing” aided by woeful Beverley tackling to dot down under the posts. Again, converting his own try. (0-20)
With just 22 Minutes on the clock Bridlington without a win to date this season were 20 points up and the questions were being asked if the margin was to great for Beverley to recover.
A knock on by Bridlington just outside the Beverley 22mtr line was won by Beverley. Fast hands saw the ball fall to Luke Hazell who applied the afterburners, break 3 tackles and carry the ball straight through to the Bridlington line to register Beverley’s first points. (5-20)
Perhaps all was not lost, as this was more like the Beverley style of play, the crowd could sense a recovery.
Almost from the restart Bridlington were awarded a penalty for a high tackle, the referee showed the yellow card and Welch again slotted the kick. (5-23)
From the kick off, Beverley made good ground and on 31minutes the Brid defence resorted to slowing techniques resulting in a penalty to Beverley under the posts, ably converted by Duboulay (8-23)
With just 5 minutes to half time continuing Beverley pressure secured a penalty for offside as the Bridlington defenders line speed was a little too eager. Duboulay slotted the kick to close the deficit. (11-23)
Excitement was building in the home crowd as the gap in the score line closed surely now the Bridlington score was within touching distance. But Bridlington were not finished. Powerful forward play saw a series of pick and go moves from the Bridlington forwards as they edged closer to the Beverley try line. One last surge should take them over in the corner; but a final pair of hands saw the ball knocked forward; relief for Beverley? But wait! no knock-on according to the referee; even to the surprise of the Bridlington supports. (11-28)
Another fine kick from distance by Welch saw the conversion completed on the stroke of half time (11-30)
The first half undoubtedly belonged to Bridlington. Their desire to win seemed to surprise Beverley and Beverley’s own performance was well under par. Surely Beverley could raise their game in the second half.
Half Time: Beverley 11 - 30 Bridlington
The second half saw a revitalised Beverley playing towards their home crowd come out firing on all cylinders.
Straight from the kick off a clever interchange of passes through the hands of the Beverley backs and Luck Hazell finished the move in the corner. (16-30)
A period of interchanges and penalties to both sides resulted in the play slowing, however Beverley were building pressure and the Bridlington defence was working ever harder to withstand the now lively Beverley players.
Beverley were building through the phases resulting in a long wide pass to Theo Richardson who accelerated through his gears to dot down in the corner (21-30). Duboulay continued in fine form converting from wide. (23-30)
By the 58th minute the growing intensity of play by Beverley saw another penalty awarded against Bridlington for slowing down play and the referee saw fit to show his yellow card for the second time in the game. Beverley chose the scrum, indicating their growing confidence as a team. The ball was spread wide where Jacob Holmes exploited the extra space and ran in to secure another Beverley try. (28-30). Duboulay once again secured the extra points with a fine conversion (30-30)
Beverley now were at full throttle displaying their trade mark free flowing rugby with the ball moving from one side of the pitch to another adding a further strain on the Bridlington defence. On 62 minutes fast hands passing through all the backs until it arrived with Luke Hazell – didn’t need to be asked twice, saw his opportunity and sprinted from outside the 22mtrer line to score again. (35-30).
Beverley were in the lead for the first time in the game and confidence amongst players and the home crowd was growing. Duboulay added the conversion (37-30)
Injury to Matty Brown required a shuffle around of the Beverley pack with Rhys Innes transferring from flanker to wing and Ray Coates replacing the injured prop.
The game was still tense either team being capable of securing the win until in the 75 minutes an early tackle by Bridlington was punished with a yellow card and penalty to Beverley. A wise decision to take the three points would require two scores from Bridlington. Duboulay once again obliged with a kick straight between the posts. (40 – 30)
But Beverley were not finished with just seconds remaining another flowing move and exhilarating speed of passing the ball alighted once again to Luke Hazell who accelerated through the Bridlington Defence to score under the posts (45-30). Duboulay slotting home the conversion as the final whistle blew.
A tense and exciting game with a home win and 5 points to Beverley who now lie second in the table and closed the gap on the leaders.