There can be no doubt as the reigning Yorkshire Plate holders Beverley RUFC U15’s are one of the better sides of their age in the county. What has become clear from the first few weeks of the new season is to be among the very best sides the boys need to improve their discipline and decision making. As with their recent cup defeat to Wetherby, this was a match they could and should have won after losing 23-20 to a last minute try against an impressive York side.
Beverley were in front for most of the game; an early lead was neatly established when Sam Dulson fiercely drove in a free kick to suck in the visitors defence allowing Sam Bayes to chip the recycled ball to winger James Couttie who had wisely held his width as the play condensed in the centre. James was to add his second the other side of a York penalty when given half a yard on his own 10m line by Louix Gorman’s deliciously timed pass he rounded his opposite wing before his customary flick of the hips to stand up and round the full back for a 10-3 lead.
Momentum was to shift minutes before half time when the York pack expertly ripped the ball from the Beverley ball carrier to create loose ball in midfield that was fly kicked through for a try in the corner before being beautifully converted to tie the scores. With the kick off the only remaining play of the half that should have been the end of matters but Beverley switched off. York gathered the kick and wind assisted, hoofed the ball deep into the home sides 22.
York chased for all their worth, Beverley thought about a drink meaning poor full back Henry Radcliffe was swamped by onrushing attackers and what was a seven point lead moments before was turned into a five point deficit at the interval.
That last play should have been a lesson to the home side as they turned at half time just one score down with a substantial wind at their backs. Let’s play in their half and the points will come. Indeed they were to do so minutes into the second half, Couttie mesmerizing the visitors with a beautiful show and go; knowing not if he was about to pass or chip York held their line which James used to his advantage to cut in-between the centres and go under the posts for a 17-15 lead and a wonderful hat-trick.
It was at this point Beverley began to lose their control; the referees patience was tested as penalties were constantly conceded at the breakdown and for offside in defensive lines gifting territory and possession to the visitors at the wrong end of the pitch. An easy kick from in front of the posts allowed York to retake the narrowest of leads. With such a gale at their backs why were Beverley playing under their own posts? Numerous wild passes were thrown wide as they attempted to relieve the pressure yet not once did anyone drop into the pocket to relieve the pressure up field.
Beverley did come back however and when pressure of their own produced a penalty with two minutes to go agony ensued as the kick hit the upright. Fortunately, York infringed again at the resultant breakdown and Tom Roberts gladly took the opportunity to make amends. As in the first half that could and should have been it, but York chased and disrupted the home side gathering a kick off temptingly hung up into the wind.
Loose ball, penalty, drive over, try, York victory. A super game won by the smallest of margins; Dulson in the forwards and Couttie in the backs had been the standouts among many great performances as the boys were left to reflect on the small improvements required to beat the very best.