Big game, 2nd against 3rd in the league, and Beverley needing to keep in touch with the two at the top. Big build-up too! The effort that went into getting this game on was immense, both clubs having to show extraordinary effort and flexibility, given that this was a rescheduled game from the week before having been postponed for flooding at Heath's ground, which was still under a foot of water, so the game ended up being played on a school pitch 10 minutes away from the home team's ground, on what was an incredibly logistically challenged day with high winds preventing quality a game of rugby, that said, both teams stepped up and performed well to entertain the supporters (many of which stayed away, sensibly) who enjoyed two quality teams play some exciting rugby. At the end of the afternoon, after all the pre-match drama, the quality and strength of the Heath pack was the differentiator, the home team winning 30 – 17.
Heath started strongly and with only two minutes on the clock showed slick hands to finish with a try in the corner, the wind preventing the conversion (which it did most of the afternoon) and just five minutes later a penalty in front of the posts was converted to give the home team and 8 - 0 advantage with less than 10 minutes gone. There may have been a twinge of nervousness, but not as captain Phil Duboulay spun an excellent ball long and wide to the onrushing Luke Hazell (Beverley’s man of the match) full-back, who then embarked upon one of his speedy mazy runs from 60 yards out to finish an excellent move, which took a lot of finishing, Luke evaded five tacklers before crashing over the line. The last points of the half went to Heath’s pack who took advantage of the scrums’ all game, calling a scrum on the Beverley try line, resulting in a pushover try. The dominance of the Heath pack was impressive, especially given that these days, Beverley's pack is a force in itself, with two new Colt’s standing up to the Heath men in the front row, Jamie Major and Tom Megson both had excellent games. Unconverted, half-time came, and it was 13 – 5 to the home team.
Beverley were still in the game, but facing very strong opponents, utilising their biggest asset, the ‘monster’ men they had playing in the pack! In the second half, Beverley stood-up better to the Heath pack, but on 54 minutes, probably the turning point of the game, with increasing pressure on the Beverley try line, which had been brilliantly defended for over 10 minutes, finally conceded, when the referee awarded a penalty try, 20 – 5. Beverley needed to reply next but it took 15 minutes before young Tom Megson was able to capitalise on pressure on the Heath try line, pouncing over at the breakdown, 20 – 10. A yellow card was then awarded to one of the Heath forwards and it looked as though the momentum may have shifted. However in quick response Heath struck again, this time spreading the ball wide for a try after sustained pressure in the Beverley red zone, which brought in the Beverley defenders. 27 – 10 with only five minutes left to play.
It was an eventful five minutes especially for young Dylan Ross making his senior debut for Beverley, the 17 year old scored his first try with quick thinking and quick feet taking the ball over at the ruck from close quarters, converted by Duboulay. One minute later the pendulum swung again in favour of the home team who decided to kick the penalty that would mark the end of the game, 30 - 17 final score.
This was an entering game of rugby played by two quality outfits, but truthfully, Beverley were beaten by the stronger team on the day who deserve to be second in the league, arguably top. It is testimony to Beverley that this 13 point defeat is their big biggest defeat of the season, to who many believe to be the best team in the league. A few different decisions from the referee and this could have been a different result, the Beverley team were magnanimous in defeat and proud of their own performance. The East Yorkshire team climbed back on the Acklam's coach back to Beaver Park for an entertaining evening with a hypnotist which will go down in Beverley's 150 year history as one of the funniest and best night’s ever. Next week, back to business, Beverley at home to 3pm kick-off against Bradford.