UNIVERSITY OF YORK 31-29 UNIVERSITY OF HULL
BUCS Northern Conference 1A
Images: Agatha Torrance
A slow and lethargic performance from the UYRUFC was just about to enough to squeeze past 31-29 against a feisty Hull side and keep them in the hunt for promotion on Wednesday afternoon.
A hat-trick of tries from winger Will Sharp and tries from Hugh Draycott and Conan Osborne helped York to an underwhelming victory over their local White Rose rivals.
This was a match set for fireworks that never ignited, despite the almost perfect conditions. With York vying for promotion, this game was tipped as a potential league decider.
The Black and Gold started off immediately on the back foot after Hull kicked off deep into the York half, with York struggling to cope with Hull’s ferocity at the breakdown.
After a few handling errors from York, Hull found themselves with a penalty which they took, to put themselves 3-0 ahead with under five minutes of the match gone. Not the best start.
However, York managed to work the ball up the field through some smart phases, mixing up some fancy moves with a bit of crash-bang-wallop from the forwards. Before long, York found themselves with a scrum on the Hull five-metre line after a Hull infringement in the ruck.
But Hull put in a mammoth effort in the first scrum to win it against the head and send out a powerful message to the forwards. Hull cleared their lines and York had a lineout just outside the Hull 22.
York, however, showed some early signs of weakness at the lineout as well, losing it to Hull unnecessarily through a poor call. Hull were able to clear the ball out of danger, and York’s work was wasted.
But it was not long before York struck gold, putting Hull under immense pressure at the breakdown before winning a lineout deep inside Hull’s half.
The home side worked a beautiful move off the lineout, with fly-half Tom Chadwick passing inside to captain Sam Lord, who released Sharp through the Hull defence and over for a beautifully worked try under the posts. Chadwick added the extras, making it 7-3.
York now appeared to be getting into their stride, Sharp again causing the Hull defence all number of problems, whilst Fraser Kirkley worked tirelessly at the breakdown.
After half an hour, Chadwick pulled off an outrageous dummy move, drifting across the line before popping up to Sharp, who ripped through the Hull defence to score his second try, which Chadwick duly converted.
With the scores now at 14-3, it appeared as if York might pull away, but this was not to be the case, as errors began to creep in and laziness began to cost York vital territory to the rivals.
Hull soon struck back, through a dubious try which the referee gave, despite the claims that Hull failed to ground the ball. They converted it to put themselves only four points behind.
Again Hull began to rumble up both flanks, going through the phases with ease, whilst York tried to force the game with over-elaborate backs moves that lead to knock-ons and turnovers. Soon Hull scored their second try off a brilliantly worked driving maul, which was converted to put them 17-14 ahead.
York struck back just before half-time, however, with Draycott linking up well off a line-out with number eight Mike Woods to score in the corner. York went in at half time ahead at 19-17, but only just.
The message at half time was clear: keep it simple. And it appeared to work, after some great pressure off the restart lead to the Black and Gold winning a scrum deep inside the Hull half. Ward linked up fantastically with Chadwick whose impeccable hands and brilliant vision put Osborne through to score in the corner and give York a 24-17 lead.
But again York relaxed, allowing Hull back into the game with some silly penalties to give them some helpful field position.
After a brief period of aerial ping-pong, disaster struck as Osborne was yellow carded and spent the next ten minutes in the sin bin. York now began to defend as if their lives depended on it, shutting out Hull’s runners.
Ten minutes later, York had miraculously managed to concede nothing, and Osborne was allowed to return to the field, but no sooner had that happened and Hull managed to score, running through what was a truly shocking York defensive line.
York continued to play poorly, allowing Hull to dominate the breakdown and make real field position, as Hull hunted for a winner.
They appeared to have found it, after the Hull winger tore through the York defence and dived down in the corner for a converted try.
With the scores now 29-24 and only ten minutes to go, it looked as if Hull were about to pull off an incredibly unlikely win. But York now showed true character, working the ball up the field before Chadwick played a miss move to send Sharp over under the posts, which he converted.
The final whistle saw scenes of relief as York managed to escape what would have been a disastrous result for their promotion hopes as they aim for the BUCS Premier League. They now play away in a tough, but winnable, fixture against Leeds Met on Saturday.
Lord was not particularly happy at the end of the match, telling Nouse, “Out of ten, I would give us a three to be honest. We were just lucky enough to score every time we put something together. The guys aren’t even happy with the win to be honest. If we play like that we sure as hell aren’t going up. Will Sharp and Fraser Kirkley are the only guys who can look at themselves and say they gave a proper performance worthy of this team. Everybody else, including myself, needs to have a good look at themselves.”