UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 27 – 22 UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER MEN’S FIRSTS
The men’s rugby firsts team got back to winning ways following a thrilling game at 22 acres.
In what was a scintillating encounter, York enjoyed their first competitive victory of the season against a valiant Leicester team to progress into the next round of the cup.
From the kick off, it was Leicester who appeared the most threatening as they forced their way into York’s half. York remained strong in defence but such pressure soon took its toll as Leicester were rewarded with a penalty kick. The penalty, to York’s relief, was missed as Leicester failed to capitalise on their early dominance. A subsequent penalty, in a central position, was similarly wayward yet ensured the scores remained level, somewhat fortuitously for York. York, in part owed much of this to winger Archie Cable, whose recovering tackle prevented Leicester from breaking free.
After weathering an early storm from Leicester, the Black and Gold were soon growing in confidence as they marauded forward in search of points. They didn’t have to wait long before York’s strong rucking forced a penalty in front of the posts which fly-half Matt Barton duly slotted home. Leicester were struggling to come to terms with the power of York’s forward line and soon they had extended their lead thanks to sheer tenacity. Following a five metre scrum, the referee awarded York a penalty try which was converted with consummate ease by Barton.
Leicester were not to be perturbed, however, with the referee signalling a penalty against York for failing to release the ball in the ruck. Leicester’s fly-half had finally found his range to notch Leicester’s first points on the scoreboard. Fresher Barton was orchestrating the attack and his intelligent chip led to the line out that instigated York’s second try of the game. The rolling maul that followed was a show of immense front line power as they forced Leicester over their own try line with James Peacock ultimately grounding the ball. Barton, who was now in imperious form, made the score 17 – 3 in favour of the hosts. There was still time for Leicester to register another penalty goal but York went into half-time very much in the ascendancy.
Whether it was complacency on York’s part, or rather Leicester’s determination to stamp their authority on the match, it was certain that the travelling side began the second in impressive style. York’s defensive capabilities were being well and truly examined and, despite being hunkered to their try line at times, they were firm in their resistance. This was until ill discipline threatened to turn the match on its head. With the penalty count rising, the major blow came when captain Thom Arnott was sin binned for tackling before the ball was released. With York’s defence significantly depleted, Leicester broke through to bundle over for a try which was unconverted. Leicester soon took further advantage to lead for the first time when their outside centre grounded in the corner, with the conversion ensuring the away team were a point ahead.
As impressive as Leicester were in this phase of the game, York’s subsequent response was worthy of equal praise. Following Arnott’s return from the sin bin, a rejuvenated forward line steam rolled into the opposition’s twenty two. A clever pass out wide from Barton was gathered by winger Cable who palmed away his opponent, before his electrifying pace carried him over the line to score.
A missed conversion from a tight angle made for a tense end to the game. This became all the more apparent when a Leicester penalty kick reduced the game to within a point. It was therefore up to Sam Durno to claim the victory thanks to a wonderful piece of individual skill. Gliding through the tackles, Durno latched onto his own chip, before crossing the try line to ensure York’s place in the next round of the cup.
Speaking to Nouse after the game, captain Thom Arnott said “The first half performance was really good, the forwards dominated up front and we played in all the right areas of the field” Despite this, Arnott highlighted rooms for improvement saying, “Occasionally we overplayed and in the second half we lost our composure for twenty minutes.”
Regarding his sin-bin, Arnott said, “obviously I let the team down today with the yellow card but we got ourselves out of jail in the end.” In general though, Arnott was positive stating, “Sam Durno scored an incredible individual try, we really needed the win and are very much looking forward to playing Birmingham next week.”
York: Burd, Stewart, Mercer, Corner, Peacock, Suttle, Chuckwulobelu, Arnott (C), Robinson, Barton, Barry, Mallinson, Durno, Cable, Prior. Substitues: Meyrick, Williams, Davey, Gillespie, Bullock
Man of the Match: Matt Barton