BEVERLEY Under-18 Colts saw their bid for a second successive league title damaged by a narrow 12-0 defeat at closest rivals Pocklington.
Weather-related postponements and a league match cancellation, meant the team were playing their first game since December 10 but although the rust showed the players will know that this was a game they could have won if they had played to their true standard.
The game was tight throughout, although the home side took the honours at the scrums and too often at the ruck breakdowns. Front row forwards Tom Jackson, Charlie Fish and Oliver Mason carried well in the early stages before the latter was forced off with a recurrence of an old shoulder injury. Ted Harber came on at replacement prop providing useful strength and energy. The second row of Adam Carpenter and Ifan Downey fought hard on the scraps of possession and the back row of Mobo Abayomi, Rhys Innes and Alex Morris picked and ran where possible against a well-drilled and defiant Pocklington.
The home side took the lead with a converted try minutes before the end of a half which also left the visitors needing to address a huge penalty count against them.
The second half saw Beverley still create enough half chances to have worried the scorer but passes and options misfired at key moments. Scrum half Toby Redman and fly half Will Dobson tried hard to give centres Brandon Leggett and Alex Hodgkinson front foot possession but the home defence was constantly in their faces meaning the backs, including wings Bailey Wood, Theo Richardson and replacement Joe Barrett, spent more time tackling than attacking. The referee showed yellow cards to three home players at different times but Beverley still couldn’t take advantage as the penalty count and stuttering display continued. Replacement hooker Spencer Roberts was lively in the last 25 minutes and Jack Gill gave a useful cameo at flanker in the final minutes of a game that only saw one more score, a second try for the home team out wide.
Beverley, who missed a great chance to gain a losing bonus point in the final seconds, now travel to third-placed Scunthorpe on Sunday for what promises to be another game critical to their league ambitions.