On Wednesday afternoon, Hull visited the York Tigers (the combined York University and York St. John’s team) for a playoff between the winners of the N.E and Yorkshire leagues. Tigers’ player Wesley Rogers predicted “would undoubtedly be a tight and important match.” Unfortunately, York failed to pull back from an early deficit and lost the game 22-12.
The game began with Hull scoring two unanswered tries that they were unable to convert, resulting in an 8-0 lead within minutes. Rogers blames “over adventurous attacking by our players” for defensive frailties that were easily exploited.
After a disappointing start, captain Matt Johnson took matters into his own hands scoring the Tiger’s first try. “I felt it was important to get the guys back into the game mentally,” commented Johnson. This try was converted successfully, cutting the Hull lead to only two points.
Before Hull got a chance to answer back Billy Greenside successfully scored a try from a long range, which was converted resulting in the first Tigers lead. The score was now 12-8, with only a few minutes left in the half.
“With the lead so late in the half we thought we would try to play simple rugby to ensure that we could enter the second half with a lead,” explained Rogers. Despite this plan the Tigers again became over zealous with their attacks that included long dangerous passes. The Hull centre was able to get its hands on one such pass, leading to an interception, which resulted in a score and a levelling of scores before the half time whistle.
“The first half can be summed up by the fact that we did not show enough respect for Hull,” explained Rogers, “Instead of sticking to the plan we were playing exciting rugby, but it was at the expense of our completion rate, making us our own worst enemies.”
The team entered the second half hoping to turn around the game. They were successful in that they committed fewer errors than in previously. However, Hull struck late when with ten minutes remaining, they were able to score another soft try.
This try put the Tigers on the defensive, and in an attempt to pull it all out and tie the game late, the ball came loose. “At this point our attack was committed and a clear path was left open for Hull when they recovered the loose ball,” commented Johnson. The game was now sealed at 22-12 as the Tigers lost all hope for a late comeback.
The match was not a complete loss, as the Tigers defence featured valiant efforts by Johnson, Matt Gartlend, and Owwain Rhodda. Additionally, Greensides gave his greatest performance since an injury at the end of last season.
Rogers, who was named man of the match, reflects on the team’s state, telling nouse, “a long season took its toll and there were many walking wounded on the pitch at the final whistle.”
The team intends to attempt to rectify problems such as their over zealous attacks during the break prior to their trip to Roses. “Lancaster will definitely come into Roses with something to prove as two of their best players, fullback Chris Cowellin and Centre Ben Horner will be healthy after injuries,” explains Johnson. However, as winners of the N.E league, the Tiger’s can feel confident that they have the pedigree to overcome the Red Rose.