UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 12 – 24 DURHAM UNIVERSITY MEN’S SECONDS
BUCS Premier North B
In their second match in the Premier B division, York slumped to a second consecutive defeat of the season at the hands of Durham Seconds.
York were left to rue a fifteen minute period in which Durham scored three tries, ultimately proving to be an insurmountable task for York.
After suffering defeat in their last outing, York may have been forgiven for being tentative in the opening minutes. Durham, however, took full advantage, exploiting defensive frailties to inflict an unassailable lead.
Durham’s inside centre jinxed past York’s defensive line before spinning a delightful pass out to their wide man. Fending off his man, the winger catapulted the away side into an immediate lead as he grounded the ball in the corner. York managed to avoid any further injury as the opposition fly half skewed the conversion wide.
It wasn’t long before Durham had doubled their lead; both centres neatly combined with seamless cohesion before eventually touching down under the posts. Again full advantage was not taken as Durham’s fly half failed once more.
This period of dominance was complete when Durham’s hooker bundled underneath the challenges of two York players to score. With his sights finally honed, the conversion was scored by the number ten.
This marked a significant turning point in the game. Rob Priors excellent restart was well retrieved by the on rushing forwards before strong rucking forced a penalty to the home side. Ollie Martin duly struck home a tremendous kick from outside the twenty two metre mark.
After a shaky start, York soon established their rhythm while indiscipline crept into Durham’s play – a testament to the strength of York’s front line. One such penalty led to a York maul which powered its way over the try line. For a moment it appeared that a vital try had been scored but the referee quickly adjudged that the ball had, in fact, been held up.
Suddenly York were in the ascendancy, exerting considerable pressure upon the opposition as they remained camped in the Durham half. However, for all York’s endeavors, they were unable to carve open any noteworthy opportunities as they desperately strived to penetrate Durham’s stubborn defence.
York decreased Durham’s advantage just before the break when Martin once more impressively converted a long distance penalty kick.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, albeit this time it was York who were aspiring to stamp their authority on the game. The impressive Ifeanyi Chuckwulobelu rose highest to meet Prior’s restart and soon York had won another penalty. Martin was unable to replicate his previous two kicks, however, and the score remained unchanged. Matt Robinson then evaded numerous tackles to find himself storming towards the try line before an excellent recovering tackle halted his progress.
York were soon rewarded when Martin successfully slotted home two penalties sending the crowd into raptures as they pressed for that all important try. York’s workman-like attack was stifled well by Durham who held firm in their attempt to preserve their lead.
Despite Durham then suffering a sin bin, a rare break in the final moments ultimately sealed the match for the away team. Both centres again combined with one offloading to the other, who waltzed through the back line, scoring beneath the posts. With the conversion scored, there was little time for York to mount any sort of comeback and the match finished a rather flattering 24-12 to Durham.
York captain Thom Arnott spoke of the disappointing early stages of the game, ‘in the first fifteen minutes our heads weren’t there and the defence was poor. We let them run away with it.’
He continued to praise the way in which they responded stating, ‘We woke up after that and kept the ball really well. Ollie Martin kicked some good goals but the main issue was we couldn’t get the break through and spot where the gaps were. At the end we let them off the hook, we need to be more clinical.’
Arnott recognised the positives and assessed where the team can improve, ‘We are disappointed with the result but a big positive is the young players like Matt Robinson who had a really good game on the wing. We will improve, we just need to put our focus into the whole eighty minutes.’
York: Burd, Mercer, Wright (Treanor), Peacock, Davey, Fullman (Weale), Chuckwulobelu, Arnott (C), Robson, Prior, Robinson, Martin, Durno, Barry, Cable.
Man of the Match: Matt Robinson