Rugby seconds battle past Sheffield

BUCS Northern Conference 2B

Images: Philippa Grafton

The men’s rugby seconds notched their first win of the season today, scraping past Sheffield in a low-scoring encounter on 22 Acres.

In a match dominated by the adverse weather conditions, a sole penalty from Ed Harris was enough to seal the win for York.

The home side started well, dominating possession and overpowering their opponents in the scrum.

But for all their pressure, most notably from Fifi Botchway and Cameron Craig, York were unable to break through the Sheffield defence.

The match was certainly living up to its billing as a relegation scrap, neither side having won all season, and the biting wind and pouring rain weren’t helping matters.

Towards the end of the first-half the visitors began to take control, pinning York back inside their own half, and they would have led at the interval were it not for a superb last-ditch tackle from Stuart Duncan when the Sheffield left-wing looked set to score.

Into the second half, it looked as if neither side would be able to score any points, as Harris kicked a penalty well short and both teams struggled to find their rhythm in open play.

But just after the hour-mark York took the lead, Harris stepping up again to send a penalty straight between the posts, kicking what proved to be the decisive points.

York were forced to defend as full time approached and the conditions turned for the worse once more.

But the away side were unable to break them down, and the match finished with York camped deep in opposition territory and pushing for a few more points to seal victory.

The scores stayed the same though, meaning York secured their first win of the campaign with a brave and battling performance.

York captain Stephen Bryan was delighted with his side’s victory, commenting, “That’s our first win of the season – it’s been a tough start for us but we’ve progressed every single week in terms of fitness and in spirit. I didn’t want to change the squad from two weeks ago against Northumbria beacause we’re still progressing and the spirit is fantastic. Joe Turner, Fifi and Cameron Craig were unbelievable today and it really was a great way to win.”

Man of the match: Joe Turner

York: Botchway, Turner, Packard, Woods, Edwards, Thorpe, Cross, Eastwood, Craig, Harris, Darruck, Bryan (C), McCormack, Rhodes, Duncan

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