BEVERLEY RUFC Under-15’s will not be reaching the later stages of the Yorkshire Cup again this year after narrowly failing to overcome a tricky first round tie, losing 19-10 to one of the county’s stronger sides in Wetherby.
In filthy conditions, Beverley started brightly, right wing Bryant Cruz getting half a yard of space in the first couple of minutes before being snuffed out. Undeterred the Beavers maintained control of the ball deep in the opposition 22 before moving the ball sweetly across the line to give Henry Fenn the type of chance he relishes to nip down the line beating the last man to finish in the corner. The first five minutes had belonged to the home side and they had a point for each of them. The next 15 minutes saw the visitors set about their work and take control of both territory and possession.
In what was to become a feature of the match Wetherby played a simple effective game very well; driving the ball in the tight and expertly retaining and recycling the ball for the next phase.
At the heart of the strategy was the formidable blind side flanker and chief ball carrier who after 15 minutes finally smashed through the green wall of defence to go over in the corner and tie the score. His second try in almost copy book style soon followed to make the score 5-12.
The home side needed to change the momentum and did so with their second foray into their opponents half reaping their second try. Again, exhibiting lovely, flowing rugby the home side worked through four phases to release Ben Lazenby into space who reduced the arrears at half time to 10-12.
Two sorties into the opponents 22 had produced two scores; if Beverley could get more ball in the right part of the pitch then the game could still be won.
With the beauty of 20:20 hindsight they may reflect that they did not give themselves the opportunity to do so by making crucial errors of judgement at critical moments. No one could question the heart of the men in green, most notably man of the match scrum half Sammy England who had an excellent game distributing the ball whilst being at the forefront of the defensive effort. As the smallest man on the pitch it takes some courage to go hard and low against an opponent 18 inches taller than you and probably twice your weight. But time and again Sammy proved nobody can run without their legs. Beverley’s defence was outstanding in negating the excellence of the visitors handling.
There was too be only one score in the second half, that a result of one of Beverley’s errors of judgement. Under pressure in their own 22 relief was offered by a Wetherby infringement, however, rather than taking the line out on half way and building from there a speculative long penalty behind the defence was taken in the hope of an instant strike. Not everyone was on the same wavelength however and Wetherby collected the ball and set off running for the opposite corner. They were only to be denied by a desperate high tackle; from the resulting tap penalty over went the imposing number 6.
Nine points behind, for the first time in the match Beverley controlled both possession and territory for the last fifteen minutes as they sought the two scores the needed. They were awarded four penalties in front of the posts and came away ruing their choices. Take three points and come back again? No. Kick for the corner and drive off an uncontested lineout? No. Run one of their prepared set piece moves? No. Instead there were two speculative high cross field kicks harmlessly drifting dead and a quick tap illegally taken gifting possession to the visitors and blowing the opportunities Beverley had created.
Congratulations then to Wetherby for a perfectly executed game plan in wet slippery conditions and plaudits to Beverley for their courage and the ferocity of their defence; there had been plenty of fire in their hearts, a couple of cool heads and they may well have won.