Rugby firsts battle to convincing Leeds win

BUCS Northern Conference 1A

Images: Agatha Torrance

The men’s rugby firsts braved the arctic conditions on 22 Acres this afternoon to record a vital 41-10 victory over Leeds seconds.

Playing their first match since early December, York were in control throughout and now have seven wins from eight BUCS league matches, keeping them top of the Northern Conference 1A.

With the referee arriving late, kick-off was delayed by half an hour, meaning the match started in the midst of a snowstorm. The weather did little to quell the home side’s appetite for victory, though, as the Black and Gold made an aggressive start.

After just five minutes, York’s early pressure was reflected in the scoreline. A ruck on the try-line ultimately saw the ball come the way of Tim Ross, who went over to make it 5-0.

A second try followed shortly after, Will Sharp breaking away down the left after good work from Fraser Kirkley, before the move ended with Hugh Draycott finding Will Ward to score. This time Will Peters made the conversion to put the score at 12-0.

Before the 20 minute mark had passed, York had a thoroughly deserved third try, once again coming down the left hand side as Sharp produced one of his trademark bursts of pace to score his first of the match.

The conversion was missed, and shortly afterwards Leeds found a way back into the game, going over in the corner with what was their first meaningful attack of the game so far.

The home side remained in control, however the disappointment of a missed penalty was compounded when the visitors scored one of their own with the last action of the first half, to leave it at 17-10.

Play resumed with the snow once again coming in horizontally, the conditions making for a scrappy encounter. Both sides were struggling to create too much on a boggy surface, with York’s forwards producing a sterling display to prevent their opposition from making any headway.

But with York camped in the Leeds half, it seemed inevitable that they would extend their advantage. And they did courtesy of some brilliant work from the pack, a driving maul seeing Sam Lord score in the corner.

From then on, it was all York. Tristan Burd added another try soon after, with some more superb work from the forwards, and two more would follow before the end.

Sharp slalomed his way down the right for the first, with Peters adding a well-taken conversion, before Harry Pampiglione put the icing on the cake with a seventh try in what proved to be the final play of the match; the final score, a dominant 41-10 to the hosts.

York captain Lord was eager to praise his team after what was a hard-fought but convincing win: “Given that it was the first game we’ve played in about nine weeks, the pace at which we started was fantastic. The offloading game we played at the beginning of the first half when we really took them on showed exactly what we’re about in terms of our attack. And in the second half was just about digging in and wearing them down; running on that pitch was ridiculous and you couldn’t even tell who was on each team. It’s great to be back and back with a win.”

York XV: Kirkley, Draycott, Burd, Pampiglione, Lord (C), Gaskell, Ross, Nangle, Ward, Peters, Sharp, Watson, Skivington-Jones, Osborne, Durno

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