BEVERLEY RUFC Under-18 Colts bounced back from their first defeat of the Yorkshire league season last week to score an excellent 63-26 win at local rivals Driffield on Sunday.
Still sore from the home defeat to Pocklington, Beverley ran in nine tries with centre Alex Hodgkinson landing nine conversions and running in four tries for a personal tally of 38 points. However, while they may be the headline statistics, this was a fine effort from a squad that welcomed back captain Will Dobson and Rhys Innes from long-term injury but still had six regular starters missing.
And there was little to suggest such a margin of victory was possible in the opening 15 minutes as Beverley – although buoyed by a fine early try by Rhys Innes - struggled to impose themselves on a game as the home side rumbled forward with their strong pack to sneak two tries with one converted to lead 12-7.
The visiting forwards now began to gain the upper hand and the platform meant good possession for both them and the backs and second rower Ifan Downey crossed for a try to which Hodgkinson added the extras to give the visitors a lead they never relinquished.
Scrum half Toby Redman was giving fly half solid ball and his quick ball to centres Brandon Leggett – who scored one try and had four assists - and Hodgkinson saw Beverley mount wave after wave of attacks with wings Joe Barrett and Bailey Wood and full back Charlie Rawlins joining in to pin the home side back at pace. Hodgkinson, Wood and Leggett all swept over for tries, while Adam Hewitson, also coming back from injury, enjoyed a spell at fly half in place of Dobson and the visitors found themselves 35-12 up at half time.
The side were reminded that at least two tries had gone begging through missed or dropped passes and the forwards were late to secure ball on the floor on several occasions and there was no question of laurels being rested. A side-step from Hodgkinson sent the home defence the wrong way and he ran through to score shortly before Rawlins repeated the same manoeuvre to romp over. Driffield were fighting hard and the game was largely even in the forwards where Tom Jackson, Spencer Roberts, Downey, Charlie Fish and Ben Fennell ran and tackled hard and Olly Mason and Liam Johnson were marauders in the loose.
Dobson returned to tighten things up and the two teams shared the last four tries with Hodgkinson notching both for Beverley who now go back top of the regional Conference C in the Yorkshire U18 Colts league, one point ahead of Scunthorpe. The only bad news on the day was a fractured hand suffered by Redman who now faces six weeks on the sidelines.