YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 18
LEEDS MET. CARNEGIE SECONDS 12
BUCS League 1A – Wednesday 20th January 2010
York rugby firsts returned to the 22 Acres for the first time in over a month today, beating Leeds Met. Carnegie seconds 18-12 with an excellent and stylish performance in the bitter cold. Two tries from Richard Bremner and another from Rory McGregor gave York a victory that severely boosts their chances of promotion to Premier B this season.
When questioned whether York could achieve this feat after just their first season in Northern Conference 1A, captain Alex Redshaw said that the team “always aimed for the top.” He added: “Today we did fantastic work and it was a great win. Things look good for the second half.” It certainly was an impressive display against a well organised side, and the perfect way to avenge their 27-5 defeat in the corresponding fixture last November.
In reality the score was slightly flattering to Carnegie as York, after Bremner’s second try gave them an 18-5 lead, looked comfortable in a second half that lacked some of the excitement of the first. Leeds drove over after a line-out with less than a minute remaining to set up a reasonably tense finish, but in reality it was too late for the visitors and the converted try served only as a consolation.
York took control of the game after a frenzied and thrilling first fifteen minutes. They had a great chance for an early lead when winger Ed Drewett looked to have found a gap down the left, but he was unable to break through the defence. Shortly after, they wasted another golden opportunity when – with five attackers lining up against three defenders – the ball was bafflingly kicked into touch. They would regret this decision even more when Leeds bundled over from the resulting line-out to gain an early lead. It was a soft try to give away.
Yet the home side responded quickly and their early forward dominance was rewarded when, after an excellent scrum, the ball was passed to Bremner who easily scored his first try. Rob Grant missed the conversion but was given an opportunity to kick for the lead when Carnegie were penalised for driving over. He found the target to put his side 8-5 ahead.
In second part of the half York had their best period and could have extended their lead soon after when they won another penalty, this time kicking to touch right by the opposition line. Redshaw nearly pushed over after the resulting line-out was won but the ball was passed out into the centre and the move was ended by an outstanding Carnegie tackle. York won another line-out in the same position later in the half after Drewett charged down a kick and the defender was forced to make a hasty clearance. This time the drive over was more successful and Rory McGregor touched down for the try – with James Stone bundling on top of him just to make sure.
The second half was not to be as thrilling as the first, with an early try putting York into a position of relative comfort and, as Redshaw said after the game, a “lack of fitness” due to no recent match practice causing York’s play to slow down. There was nothing slow about their try, however, as a stunning passing movement between the two Grants and scorer Bremner allowed York to break through and extend the lead to 14 points. It was a score that epitomised the display and was only marred when the ever injury-prone Mike Callis had to leave the field with a possible broken hand.
York had further chances to score with Tom Buggé playing impressively and nearly penetrating the opposition defence with a clever zig-zag run. However it was Carnegie that began to pressurise, playing some good rugby themselves and only being held out by strong defending. They eventually broke through, but it was too late to affect the final result.
“Train hard, fight easy” remarked Redshaw after the game, but the fight towards the top two positions in the league is unlikely to get any easier. However, York showed again today that they are serious contenders in this division and their second half of the season is fast shaping up to be even more exciting than their first.
York line-up: 1. James Stone, 2. Chris Reid Milligan, 3. Rupert Grant, 4. Alexander Redshaw (c), 5. Mike Callis, 6. Ali Handy, 7. Rory McGregor, 8. Tom Weir, 9. Tim Walker, 10. Robert Grant, 11. Richard Bremner, 12. Gruffudd Jones, 13. Michael James, 14. Ed Drewett, 15. Tom Buggé
Subs: William Felgate, Rich Welsh, William Forsythe, Peter Nathan