York 1sts 35- 14 Lincoln 1sts
A place in the quarter-final awaits York Rugby Men’s 1st after a confident win over the University of Lincoln in the second round of the BUSA Plate.
Lincoln were exposed by a York team in superb form, amidst one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. Having finished third in the BUSA Northern Conference 2B to qualify for the competition, York seemed determined to prolong their cup run and, apart from a shaky opening twenty minutes, the victory never looked in doubt.
Lincoln’s kicking game looked strong in the early stages and a battle of the fly-halves certainly gave Lincoln the edge. However, had the away team possessed the shrewdness to abandon their territory-based tactics in favour of a running game, the sin-binning of York prop Ben Innes after 12 minutes might have had calamitous consequences for the home side.
Lincoln did not, however, exploit their numerical advantage and York snatched the important first score through an opportunist try by winger Peter Nathan. Receiving a long kick in his own half, York number nine Tim Walker found space behind the Lincoln line and his clever kick was gathered in by the grateful Nathan, courtesy of a particularly kind bounce.
The try settled York’s nerves and the style that has characterised their play throughout the season began to rematerialise. More fluent play owed much to the dominance of its pack, consistently creating turnovers at set-plays and in the loose, with Mike Callis especially effective at the lineout. The forwards also provided effective quick balls for the dangerous Danny Stacey to utilise along the back line.
Unsurprisingly, it was a turnover in the scrum that led to York’s second try. Its scorer, Stacey, displayed some inspired footballing skills and managed audaciously to dribble his way under the posts to give York a 12-0 lead.
A third try on the stroke of half-time effectively won the game for the home side. York exploited the disorganised Lincoln defence by finding space on the right flank to send Ali Handy over in the corner. The try sent York into the interval with a convincing 17-0 lead; the final result all but inevitable.
In light of this, the second half was a routine affair, enlivened only by the sin-binning of the Lincoln fly-half. In a moment of absolute lunacy, the stand-off threw the ball at York’s Tim Walker in full view of the referee, then contrived to have the resultant penalty moved thirty metres further towards goal as he repeatedly shouted obscenities at the official. This event was typical of Lincoln’s waning discipline and frustration as York continued their assault.
Second half tries from Danny Stacey and Takenora Sagara, as well as two penalties from Rob Grant late in the match, secured the win.
Lincoln managed to score two consolation tries, but this proved too little too late for the away side.
After the match, York captain Paul Goodall praised his team’s seemingly impenetrable backline, insisting that the match had been more difficult than the score might suggest. “The backs were so important in keeping us in the game, and their goal-line defence was really crucial for us.”
1. Hugh Wigzell, 2. Alex Corp, 3. Ben Innes, 4. Andy Barnett, 5. Alex Redshaw, 6. Ali Handy, 7. Paul Goodall, 8. Mike Callis, 9. Tim Walker, 10. Rob Grant, 11. Nick Mason, 12. Danny Stacey, 13. Michael James, 14. Peter Nathan, 15. James Wilson, 16. James Stone, 19. Takenora Sagara