Both teams lined up to observe one minutes’ silence before the start of this match, in remembrance of Graham Hodgson who sadly passed away earlier in the week. Graham was a stalwart of the Beverley club for over 50 years, serving as player, captain, coach and Director of Rugby, steering it through the leagues from Yorkshire 2 up to the National Leagues and he will be sadly missed. The club’s commiserations go out to Graham’s family at this time.
Beverley kicked off on a cold blustery day and immediately mounted an attack up the left wing taking them into the Rishworthians 22. The powerful looking Rishworthian forwards managed to halt the attack however but after 5 minutes Beverley switched play out to Jack Garvin on the right wing who cleverly chipped the ball over the defence and followed up to touch down in the corner. (5-0).
Five minutes later, following a maul out on the left wing, Will Turner touched down for Beverley’s second try (10-0).
Rishworthians much larger pack of forwards began to exert themselves and were dominating possession in midfield to allow their No.10 Josh Kelly to pin Beverley back with raking kicks out to their dangerous looking wing Doug Heseltine. However, Beverley were able to deal with it with some tenacious tackling but, eventually conceding a penalty which Kelly converted to make the score 10-3.
Rishworthians tactics were paying off and the Beavers were having some difficulty coping with the power of the Rishworthians forwards. After a period of almost consistent pressure on the Beavers’ line the referee awarded Rishworthians a penalty and Dale Hodgson a yellow card. From the resulting scrum Rishworthians scored a pushover try which was converted to level the scores at 10-10.
Rishworthians continued to press and another penalty for entering a maul from the side allowed Kelly to give them the lead at half time (10-13).
Beverley started the second half well and after 1 minute James Graham went over in the corner for a try which Phil Duboulay converted from wide out to restore their lead (17-13).
Five minutes later Raymond Coates continued his recent try scoring habit with a bonus point try which Phil Duboulay converted to make it 24-13.
Play now settled into a midfield battle with the strong Rishworthians forwards still making it uncomfortable for Beverley and the game looking far from safe until after 20 minutes Luke Hazell made a superb break from half way and scythed through the startled defence to score under the posts for Phil Duboulay to convert and give the Beavers a bit of breathing space (31-13).
However, Rishworthians were not finished yet and they mounted a series of attacks on the Beverley line. After 30 minutes another prolonged spell of pressure on the Beverley line led to a second yellow and a red card for Dale Hodgson and, from the resultant penalty a converted try for Rishworthians to make it 31-20.
Five minutes later a try in the corner for Rishworthians made it 31-25 and an anxious final few minutes for Beverley. Fortunately they held out and the referee blew for time much to Beverley’s relief
It has to be said that this was not a great game of rugby but it was certainly exciting. Rishworthians maybe count themselves a little unlucky but, on the other hand they did score 14 of their points whilst Beverley were playing with only 14 men.