An eventful day at Beaver Park, for all the wrong reasons. The game (if I can be forgiven for calling it that!) was played out for the most part in atrocious conditions and the standard of rugby reflected that.
Beverley travelled up the A19 on Saturday to play Middlesbrough in this Yorkshire 1 fixture. It was a filthy day with the rain sheeting down and visibility in parts virtually nil but, mercifully, conditions had improved slightly by kick-off time, at least insofar as the pouring rain had ceased. However, conditions underfoot were very soggy and we were unlikely to see much enterprising rugby.
Beverley kicked off in this Yorkshire Division 1 match and immediately mounted an attack on the Keighley line. After 5 minutes of constant pressure they were awarded a penalty which Phil Duboulay kicked to give them a 3-0 lead.
A good natured crowd, a fast game, and a tight finish; this was a good day’s rugby. After three defeats in their last four league outings Beverley badly needed a win here. Not to get one was a disappointment and they now find themselves languishing in mid-table. It wasn’t for the want of trying and there was plenty of enterprise but in the end they could have no complaint at the final result. Crossleyans simply played with greater intensity and at a faster tempo and this frequently made a lively Beverley side look pedestrian in comparison. Beverley were always in it but they were never quite able to match the powerful running of the home side or get the vital score that would have got them into the lead.
A close run thing but Beverley eventually went out of the Yorkshire Shield. It was a high scoring and absorbing game throughout and in the end there were only two points in it. Perhaps the relevant factor was that while Beverley’s scores all came from their own exertions every Moortown point resulted directly from a Beverley error. Beverley should have won this match comfortably but simply gave it away through their own profligacy.
On a fine sunny, if a little breezy day, Beverley kicked off hoping to return to winning ways after a run of three defeats which has seen them tumble down the table from second to eighth position. Although the Beavers were without several regular first team players, they were strengthened by the return of No 8 Isaac Keighley.
A bright, breezy, chilly Autumnal afternoon saw both teams take the field for this clash between two apparently very evenly placed middle-order teams currently sitting 7th and 8th in the League. Both teams were looking to improve their position in relation to each other and, hopefully, in the League as well. Beverley were necessarily fielding a slightly under-strength team, but the return of some key players who had been out through injury should, it was hoped, would redress that situation and optimism was high. Bradford won the toss and kicked off with the wind, into the down-wind Beverley corner.
This was a cracking game with bags of thrilling rugby. Both sides played throughout with flair and ambition providing plenty for the spectators to enjoy in the autumn sunshine. For three quarters of the game the advantage swung one way then the other. It was only when Heath went two converted tries ahead with twenty minutes left that either side began to dominate. Despite the loss this was much more like it from Beverley. After the dire showing of the previous week they played well here and deserved better than an eighteen point defeat.
High flying Beverley visited near neighbours in Hull on Saturday and were brought to earth with a vengeance by bottom of the table Hullensians. This was a real horror show by the Beavers who looked like a pale imitation of the team which has been playing some fine rugby so far this season. They seemed to lack any game plan and displayed a distinct lack of enthusiasm all afternoon.
In perfect playing conditions both sides contributed to an enjoyable game in the crisp autumn sunshine providing plenty of entertaining running rugby. Beverley were clearly the classier of the two teams and they turned it on in the second half with some exhilarating play to bring them a comfortable victory. Guisborough throughout played with plenty of endeavour and spirit which belied their poor league record but Beverley always held the upper hand both in the set pieces and the loose play. They were far quicker to the breakdown, regularly getting turnover ball, and several times taking the ball against the head as well as in the lineout.
In the end a comfortable win which took Beverley up to second place in Yorkshire One. After twenty minutes this match looked like being a whitewash. Beverley were then already twenty four points up with a four try bonus point in the bag. But by the time the game went into its last quarter it had all changed and Beverley, while not exactly hanging on, were certainly having their work cut out to finish with the win. Not for the first time it was ultimately left to Luke Hazell to see them over the line with a clinching try.
An excellent, entertaining game at Pontefract where the newly promoted and thus far unbeaten home side entertained a much changed Beverley side. Already this season, after only three matches, the list of injuries suffered by the Beavers is mounting at a worrying rate. The most serious of those is the damage suffered to the influential stand off and skipper Phil Duboulay who last week had to undergo eye surgery and who will be out of action for some time.