UYRUFC hang on for Liverpool victory

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 31-27 UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
BUCS Northern Conference 1A

Images: Lily Grant

The men’s rugby firsts survived a late scare this afternoon, as they secured a nervy 31-27 win over Liverpool on 22 Acres.

York had led 31-10 midway through the second half, but saw two players sin-binned in the closing stages and just managed to cling on to a valuable three points in their quest for promotion.

The Black and Gold made the perfect start, winger Will Sharp scoring the opening try just five minutes in. Picking the ball up on the left, Sharp effortlessly slalomed his way past two challenges to score; with Tom Chadwick making the conversion, that was 7-0 to York.

Liverpool responded well with a try of their own, their rapid full back going over after some strong work from their pack – 7-5 with the conversion scuffed badly.

Soon, though, the hosts extended their lead. A clever chip through the defence from Will Peters saw Conan Osborne go over in the corner, and restore the seven point lead.

Continuing their fine form of recent weeks, York added a third courtesy of Adam Gaskell. A lineout inside the Liverpool 22 resulted in a huge push towards the try line, with Gaskell able to go over amidst a heap of bodies.

With Chadwick adding the extras, York had a throughly deserved 19-5 advantage – just rewards for a huge spell spent camped inside the Liverpool half.

Liverpool weren’t about to roll over, though, and hit back with a sustained period of their own pressure. They couldn’t profit from this rare spell of possession, however, and were punished; Sharp offloaded to Hugo Watson and he had free reign to burst through the middle and dive over between the posts.

At this stage, the three points seemed certain to be heading York’s way, but the visitors managed a second try just before the break, kicking to the corner and edging their way over the line to leave the score at 26-10.

Liverpool did have a glimmer of hope, but it diminished significantly as Hugh Draycott added another York try shortly after the break. The White Rose hooker saw the ball returned to him from a short lineout and evaded two challenges down the left to run over.

What followed was a passage in which neither team was in obvious control of the match, but, with York holding a 21-point advantage, they still had enough breathing space to be comfortable. That was about to change, however.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty try, with Peters controversially yellow carded for three offsides, to reduce the deficit, and things got worse for the hosts shortly afterwards as Fraser Kirkley was sent to the sin bin too for repeat offences.

With York down to 13 men, Liverpool made their numerical advantage count with two quickfire tries. Were it not for some wayward kicking from the visitors throughout the match, York would have been in serious danger of losing.

The Merseysiders sensed that victory was within their grasp and had they produced this sort of play earlier in the match they would surely have won. But with their full compliment of players restored, York did enough to relieve the pressure and hang on for a hard-fought win.

Injured captain Sam Lord said, “It was a great win but we made it far too hard for ourselves. The guys might feel hard done by because of the referee, but I think we need to look at ourselves. We need to stop letting teams come back into the match that easily. For the first 50 minutes, though, we were excellent. I was really pleased with the character of the guys to stick in there and get us through, but there’s still plenty to work on.”

York: Burd, Draycott, Kirkley, Pampiglione, Gaskell, Nangle, Ross, Woods, Ward, Chadwick, Sharp, Peters, Watson, Osborne, Durno. Subs: Paton, Morrison, Cunnah, Duncan

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