UNIVERSITY OF YORK SECONDS 0 vs. UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS SECONDS 34
BUCS Cup (Rugby Union) Men’s Second Round, Wednesday 19th November 2008
York Rugby seconds crashed out of the BUCS Cup at the first hurdle with a 34-0 loss to a strong Leeds University seconds team. Leeds’ well organised defence and strong attacking penetration were too much for a York side that have yet to see a win so far this season.
York went in as clear underdogs against a Leeds side on a run of four wins and top of the BUCS Northern Conference 2B – the same league that York firsts play in. This form looked likely to continue when, within the first five minutes, the visitors burst through the York defence and scored the first of the afternoon’s five tries.
The home team played well for the remainder of a cagey half, looking as if they would break through the defence with a number of fast, quick passing moves from the backs. Mistakes, a tendency to kick away possession too readily, and a tight and aggressive Leeds defence all meant that York were continually turned over and unable to benefit from large periods of possession.
Leeds, in contrast, looked dangerous whenever they had the ball and in the last ten minutes of the first half they piled on the pressure. Leeds twice looked through, but were penalised for a forward pass on their first attempt and then kept out by an outstanding tackle from Ed Drewett on the second. Eventually they won a scrum on York’s twenty-two, and efficiently got the ball out to the left winger who converted the try. Despite frequent good passages of play, York left the field at half-time trailing 10-0.
York found the going tough against an experienced Leeds side
York started the second period brightly, with Nick Brown on the wing putting York into a try-scoring position, only for the ball to be again turned over by a determined Leeds. Tensions were rising and York were visibly frustrated as the referee failed to notice frequent foul play at the breakdown. However, continued infringements did lead to a number of York penalties throughout the second half. Replacement fly-half James Mortimer kicked superbly to touch all afternoon and subsequently gave York a number of line-outs just behind the Leeds try line. Leeds defence remained tight despite good speed and footwork from Nick Brown and Ollie Tilney.
In contrast, York looked open and Leeds were quick to the counter, able to move through the home defence with alarming ease. Their fourth try, after a long period of positive York pressure, was particularly frustrating and this clearly affected the players’ attitude. Tension in the scrum between replacement prop Sam Dudley and his opposite number escalated into a small scale brawl between the two sides, but it was quickly diffused.
After the match, captain Sam Dudley said that York had faced a “strong Leeds side” and that the score would have been closer if York had “held on to the ball and didn’t get turned over so often”.
Coach Alex Porter was optimistic, saying that there was “some hope” and that they “played well in the first half. [York] went in at only 10-0 down at half time”. His comments showed the low expectations against a team that he said were “more experienced and took their chances well.”
This was shown clearly when, after another long period of pressure near the try line from York, Leeds quickly countered and got their fifth try with ease. It ended a difficult afternoon for York on the 22 Acres.
York Line-up: 1. Chris Reid Milligan, 2. Alex Corp, 3. James Stone, 4. Will Forsythe, 5. Phil Johnson, 6. Will Tate, 7. Rory McGregor, 8. James Bennett, 9. Tom Buggé, 10. Rob Grant, 11. Nick Brown, 12. Olli Tilney, 13. Matt Robinson, 14. Seb Hurst, 15. Ed Drewett
Replacements: Sam Dudley (c), James Mortimer, Alex Tominey, Jack Miles