Given the current relentless rain, floods, and gale force winds it might have been expected that the only winners today would be those who stayed at home or, God forbid, went shopping with their wives. Happily the sun came out, the pitch held up pretty well, and only a stiff crosswind hampered what turned out to be an entertaining game. It was not a particularly memorable afternoon but in the end it was a good win for Beverley.
After the disappointing defeat at Heath the previous week Beverley’s season now realistically rests on consolidating third place in Yorkshire One. They did so here with a comfortable bonus point win, although it took them some time to get going. Bradford for their part look certain to finish somewhere in mid-table.
The wind made playing conditions difficult and it was a credit to both sides that they never stopped attempting to play enterprising rugby. Despite the wind it was difficult to remember a single occasion when either side was penalised for a crooked throw at the lineout. A lot of credit is due to the referee, Graham Bentley, who kept a firm grip but still allowed the game to flow without indulging in unecessary pedantic interference.
Bradford started the game strongly and took the lead with a try in the corner from their right wing Jake Green after five minutes. For the next fifteen minutes they were never again in the Beverley half. Yet at the end of the first quarter they still found themselves leading 5-0. Beverley had had nearly all the possession but in spite of a lot of huffing and puffing they never really got close to scoring. Instead of relying on continuous battering by individual forwards they might perhaps have been better served by making more use of their backs.
When for the first time the ball did eventually get moved wide Rob Smith made a spectacular fifty metre dash down the left touchline to be denied a try only by a last ditch tackle. Beverley however maintained the momentum and from a quickly taken tapped penalty ten yards from the line the ball was moved out to Jacob Holmes who touched down to level the scores.
Bradford responded vigorously and for a time looked the more likely scorers. But Beverley weathered the storm and on the stroke of halftime Callum Harvey powered his way over to put Beverley into the lead. After that the final result never really looked in doubt. Within two minutes of the start of the second half they went 15-5 up with the best try of the day. A nice break on his own 22 by Phil Duboulay was carried on by Smith who used his pace to see off numerous would-be tacklers and somehow squeeze down the touchline for seventy metres to touch down.
A drive by the forwards from a five metre scrum ended with Isaac Keighley going over for another to give Beverley the four try bonus point and with five minutes left he had an easy touchdown under the posts for Beverley’s fifth. In the fierce wind this was the only realistic conversion opportunity of the afternoon and Duboulay duly put it over. They might have added more tries but on several occasions the final pass went astray.
Mauro Rocha and some of the Club’s aspiring youngsters, Jamie Major, Dan Askew, and Tom Megson all gave a good account of themselves. Beverley were boosted by the return of Harvey in the second row and the scrummaging looked all the better for it. At number eight Keighley was a constant rampaging threat and Smith had an outstanding game with his speed and quick thinking. Jack Foster with ball in hand always has the ability to set the pulses racing and he made several powerful bursts from the right wing, at least once being unlucky not to score.