UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 105 vs. UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD MEN’S FIRSTS 0
BUCS Northern Conference 2B, Wednesday 12th November 2008
York demonstrated a ruthless and calculated efficiency in their dismantling of Huddersfield on Wednesday afternoon; without question the simplest haul of BUCS League points they have ever acquired. This exhibition in the rugby playing art featured no less than seventeen unanswered tries as the porous Huddersfield defence was continually embarrassed by merciless and relentless York attacking play.
Nick Brown, Peter Spanker and Lionel Owusu all scored three tries apiece and there were seven additional scorers, notwithstanding Rob Grant’s contribution of 22 points with the boot. Unfortunately, Captain Mike Callis was left disappointed and clearly disillusioned with the result, branding the afternoon’s workout “a complete waste of time,” such was the inadequacy of the opposition.
Inexplicably starved of BUCS action in recent weeks, excluding a composed 43-21 victory over Northumbria at the end of October, York have been forced to fill the fixture void with exhibition fixtures against club sides from Leeds and Harrogate, with encouraging outcomes. Nevertheless, the return to competitive action was welcome, though few onlookers could have predicted the magnitude of the triumph, despite bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield having shipped 267 points in just five matches this season.
Some familiar names were absent from the York line-up, notably Dave Lowe, Jack Miles and Jack Wakeling, but this presented the opportunity for the likes of Mike Ager, Will Fellgate and Tim Worzlo to stake their claim for a permanent starting berth with a tasty BUCS Cup clash with Leeds Trinity and All Saints looming.
The omens didn’t look good for Huddersfield’s flimsy self-esteem when York fullback Gryff Jones breezed through a haphazard assortment of tackles to open York’s account within ninety seconds of the kick-off. A stolen line-out proved the impetus both for the opening try and York’s trademark passing rhythm, something which would never be relinquished for the entirety of the game. Rob Grant added the extras with a touchline conversion and the writing was already on the wall for the visitors.
Huddersfield’s squad had been stripped of some important players during the close season and the consequent reduction in pack strength was amply demonstrated as York dominated the scrum. Within minutes of his first, Jones again had the beating of the defence down the left flank, bursting through a string of scattered challenges to score in an almost identical location.
Peter Spanker stretched the lead and York had already secured the game, aided in no small part by the abysmal standard of Huddersfield’s kicking game. Despite the impeccably still, autumnal conditions on the 22 Acres, Huddersfield pretended they were confronting the full might of the Beaufort scale, reliably launching balls into areas of the pitch from which York could easily rebound on the counter-attack.
York had surpassed the thirty point mark by the twentieth minute, Nick Brown claiming the first of his three scores before the interval, and this coming prior to a venerable deluge of tries from Alex Corp, the irrepressible Spanker and Mike Ager took the match well beyond Huddersfield’s control at 64-0.
A tactical reshuffle at half-time refreshed York’s motivation, with the introduction of Tom Buggé, Owusu and Will Tate (replacing the winded Ager) adding an impetus that might easily have been lost to complacency. With York continually pushing and probing, it was surprising that it took five minutes of the second half to resume the rout – Buggé crossing after an intelligent thrust through the centre. With Grant opting to drop kick York’s conversions, the scoreline continued to progress towards that psychological humiliation that is a century of points.
To their credit, Huddersfield, in light of their evident inferiority, didn’t resort to cheap and aggressive tactics to unsettle their hosts, like many teams would have done. Sadly, their timidity didn’t reckon on the Owusu factor as the arrival of the leggy flanker opened up a new dimension to York’s attack. When he strode over the line effortlessly to score on 50 minutes, York had established a 78 point lead.
Undeservedly considering his massive contribution to the total, Grant had a try disallowed by referee Rob Donell early in the second period. However, it mattered little since Ben Innes, Spanker and Owusu would all add to the humiliation in a ten-minute spell of champagne rugby, taking the score to within seven of the century. When James Bennett stepped clear to bring up the one hundred, there was a nice sense of accomplishment and completeness to the afternoon. By the time Owusu nipped in for try number seventeen in the dying moments, there was a burning desire on both sides to bring the curtain down.
Despite the boost to York’s points difference, skipper Callis remained distinctly unimpressed. Speaking to Nouse in the game’s aftermath, he said: “We learnt nothing today about our players and we learnt nothing today about our character.”
Looking towards next Wednesday’s fixtures, Callis said: “Leeds are our main rivals. This year we have three strong teams and two of them will be facing Leeds next week which is obviously going to be very tough, but I have faith that we can get something out of the games.”
York team: 1. Ben Innes, 2. Alex Corp (Rupert Grant), 3. Rupert Grant (Tom Buggé), 4. Alex Redshaw, 5. Mike Callis (c), 6. Mike Ager (Will Tate), 7. Rory McGregor, 8. James Bennett, 9. Tim Worzlo, 10. Rob Grant, 11. Nick Brown, 12. Will Fellgate, 13. Gwen French, 14. Peter Spanker, 15. Gryff Jones (Lionel Owusu)
In today’s other rugby action, the men’s third team recorded a resounding 66-5 victory over Hull University seconds, their first BUCS League points of the season.
(pictures by Sam Newsome)