On a tough day for UYRUFC, the men’s firsts XV battled their way to a crucial victory on Saturday afternoon. Having seen both the seconds and thirds lose earlier in the day the Black and Gold produced a display of tremendous heart to secure a nervy 23-15.
Two minutes in, fly half Will Peters nudged York into the lead with a penalty won after he had intercepted a loose pass on the halfway line. He repeated the trick ten minutes later to make it 6-0.
Conan Osborne latched onto a neat chip kick from Sam Durno to score York’s first try, things seemed to be settling very much in favour of the White Rose. York managed to put together a decent set of phases, their backs clicking nicely, as Peters floated the ball to Osborne. He used the overlap to release Etienne Ekpo-Utip but he was tackled into the dead ball area and Lancaster narrowly escaped conceding another try.
But York did not let this unsettle them and they drove a maul forward off a lineout before Tom Arnott touched down in the corner. Peters failed to make a difficult conversion, but the White Rose now held a commanding 18-0 lead.
After the second half kicked off a bit of indiscipline began to creep into York’s game. They were penalised for going off their feet in the ruck.
Osborne was then shown a yellow card for upending a Lancaster player. Lancaster hammered away at the York defence but were only able to score one try, such was the resilience of the Black and Gold. It wasn’t converted, leaving the scores at 18-5.
Nangle was sent to the sin bin shortly after, as York were penalised for hands in the ruck in a desperate attempt to halt the now rampant Lancastrian attack. Thankfully for York, Osborne returned to the pitch only moments after Nangle was carded, but it meant that they played almost 20 minutes with 14 men.It soon got worse for York though, as Burd suffered a serious blow to the head and had to be stretchered into to an ambulance, leading to a lengthy stoppage in play. York then claimed a vital third try, a lazy pass intercepted by Ekpo-Utip, who made amends for not finishing off his earlier chance by sprinting in under the posts to make it 23-5 to York.
The White Rose looked set for a serene finish to the game, but Robson had a box kick charged down just seconds after the restart and Lancaster scored an unconverted try, bringing the score back to 23-10.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Lancaster went looking for another try, and were rewarded for their hard work as they drove a maul over the line.
The try was unconverted which gave York a crucial eight point advantage that they managed to cling on to until the long-awaited final whistle.
Stand-in captain Matt Thorpe told Nouse afterwards: “We weren’t perfect but I think we were expecting a much stronger Lancaster side this year with the season they’ve had.
“Some of us are in our last ever uni match so we wanted to end on a high. The forwards were great and the defence was big. Blair Nangle was great, we’ll let him off for the sin-bin because he got a try and put in some great hits. We’ve had a tough league this year, but overall it’s been a decent season.”