YORK SECONDS 7
SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY SECONDS 31
An encouraging second half performance from the men’s seconds was not enough to turnover an experienced and well practiced Sheffield side in the opening match of the season at 22 acres. The rugby contingent at York will be left to question the late university start dates once more, fielding a team sprinkled with Freshers who have had little time or no to settle in – despite this disadvantage, the second half performance was much improved and was a lot closer than the lopsided score line suggested.
Playing in a change strip of blue and white hooped shirts, York started slowly and were guilty of being caught short by the scripted movements of the Sheffield backs, falling behind after conceding a penalty, kicked from just inside the York half. The Sheffield backs were finding their groove, playing an attractive brand of rugby and regularly stretching York wide. They found more success as the Sheffield winger cut inside of the right touch line to touch down under the posts to move the score to 10-0. Just before the end of the half a careless handling error from York gifted another try to the visitors and the game became all but over, with the second half now looking increasingly ominous.
York seek a way through in a tricky match. Image: Justyn Hardcastle
If the first half saw York consistently on the back foot, the second half saw York take massive strides forward, playing at a higher tempo and finally breaking the Sheffield defensive line which had stayed strong for the majority of the afternoon – York showing genuine ingenuity as they looked to put up the first points of the new season. Ben Turner would go closest first for York, coming up inches short of the line, before James Faktor got the breakthrough the White Rose thoroughly deserved after playing the better rugby in opening exchanges in the second half. With the forwards gaining valuable territory, rolling York to a few yards out, Faktor was able to barrel home after receiving the ball in hand much to the delight of the UYRUFC contingent on the sidelines.
The home side were steadily dragging themselves back in the game, capitalising on Sheffield indiscipline, which was plaguing their line out in particular, to gain valuable territory and make it more of a contest – but just as they had opened the game up, York were again guilty or surrendering an easy try, Sheffield able to break through the defensive line with relative ease on the right hand side and go under the posts. Sheffield would replicate an almost identical manoeuvre minutes later to kill the game off entirely, despite York almost gaining a second try in the closing moments only to see Ryan Johnston fumble at the crucial moment.
Despite a tricky result for the seconds their second half performance was encouraging. Image: Justyn Hardcastle
While York will be disappointed with the result, they will look to take the positives out of a performance that displayed, if only briefly, the kind of rugby York is accustomed too – free flowing, ruthless and clinical. In weeks to come this game should be seen almost as a blip as new players settle in and all the team grows as unit – no doubt the winning results should come with it.