UNIVERSITY OF YORK 57-14 LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
Images: Agatha Torrance and Philippa Grafton
UYRUFC put in a sensational display of attacking rugby to slaughter a lamentable Lancaster side 57-14 in front of a packed audience at Huntington Stadium on Friday night.
Fly-half Tom Chadwick controlled the game with maturity and poise as the White Rose ran in an incredible nine tries.
Lancaster kicked off and immediately won possession but York were able to snuff out any form of attack and began to pressurise the Red Rose at the breakdown, forcing an early penalty. It wasn’t long before York engineered their first try, Chadwick offloaded brilliantly to Hugo Watson who powered through the middle of Lancaster’s defence to dive over for York’s first try.
Chadwick added the conversion to make it 7-0 and the York crowd began to create a spine tingling atmosphere around the stadium.
Despite managing to control possession, errors started to creep into York’s play. Conan Osborne knocked on a high ball, and the White Rose then conceded a penalty at the scrummage. Lancaster started to move the ball into the York 22 and they were running through the York tackles with worrying ease. After a powerful driving maul off the line-out, it was clear that the men in red were not going to let the occasion get to them.
Lancaster mounted an attack, sending forward after forward into contact to inch their way towards the line, before they managed to muscle their way through the defence to score a converted try. Lancaster started to threaten the Black and Gold again from the restart, and soon found themselves camped in the York 22.
York gained some breathing space after a barrage of brutal hits when Lancaster were penalised for holding on in the ruck. But Sam Lord was on hand to rally his troops and York soon had the momentum.
Out of nowhere, Osborne spotted a gap in the Lancaster defence on the half way line to surge through, showing electric pace to sprint half the pitch and touch down in the corner. Chadwick missed the conversion against strong winds, but York were back in the lead.
York now looked dangerous with the ball in hand, working through the phases swiftly and effectively. It was not long before scrum-half Will Ward received a deft offload to dart through for York’s third try. Chadwick added the extras to make it 19-7.
The crowd had only just settled back into their seats before Osborne went over for his second try, showing brilliant hands to receive a long looping pass from Will Peters to batter his way over the try-line. Chadwick failed to make the conversion, but York went in at half-time with a comfortable 24-7 lead.
After the break York were immediately on the scoreboard again. Watson offloaded to Hugh Draycott, who shrugged off two tackles to rumble down the right and score a converted try, making the lead 31-7. Draycott proved a menace for Lancaster, constantly wreaking havoc at the breakdown, and looking dangerous with the ball in hand.
Lancaster managed to muster a soft try, edging over after multiple phases. But it was not going to rain on York’s parade. Chadwick responded immediately, showing remarkable vision and deceptive pace as he shredded his way through the defence, making the score 36-14.
Lancaster’s hopes were now fading fast as York refused to break their intensity. Soon Draycott was over for his second try and Chadwick converted an extremely difficult kick in blustery conditions to extend York’s lead to 43-14.
York’s forwards proved effective at the scrum, with the front row of Tristan Burd, Fraser Kirkley and Draycott consistently punishing Lancaster’s feeble effort and winning almost every engagement.
As the Black and Gold drove the ball up the pitch, Chadwick again showed brilliant vision to put Will Sharp through under the posts with a delicate offload. York were now 50-14 and the match had descended into a rout.
Lancaster knocked-on after a spell inside York’s 22, and immediately Sharp pounced, scooping up the ball and sprinting the length of the pitch to score and round off an emphatic night for the White Rose. The final score of 57-14 told no lies, York reigned supreme.
After the match, influential captain Lord was satisfied with the performance. “That was the perfect end to the perfect season.” Speaking of Club President Draycott, Lord told Nouse, “He’s been fairly average all year. But it’s safe to say that this is Hugh Draycott’s Roses.” Draycott himself thanked the crowd for the “unbelievable atmosphere.”
Meanwhile Nouse man of the match Chadwick said that though the team were “hyper-critical” of themselves this was the “complete performance.”
This was a real send off after what has been a near-faultless season for Lord’s men, and it meant York went home at the end of Roses day one with a 22-17 lead overall.