York men’s firsts taste defeat once more

York Men’s Rugby Firsts were overpowered by a strong Bishop Burton side today at 22 Acres

University of York Men's Firsts
Bishop Burton Men's Firsts

BUCS Premier North B

James Hostford

It was a game in which physical might triumphed over technical guile with Bishop Burton’s unrelenting strength ensuring they sealed victory.

Such power manifested itself in both attack and defence with the former the most prevalent from the kick-off. A rather lack lustre start by York was punished by Bishop Burton’s second row who broke through various missed tackles to ground the ball for the opening try, merely a matter of minutes into the half. This was certainly a wake up call for York who were instantly aware of the physicality of the opposition as they sought to find a foothold in the match.

York struggled to find their groove, stunned by the early nature of the conceded try. Bishop Burton were asserting their authority on the game with their iron-willed defence forcing York into numerous handling errors. Soon Bishop Burton had double their lead after their open-side flanker broke clear from his own half before feeding the fullback who, in turn, darted past his man to score. With Bishop Burton’s fly half yet to find his range, they were by no means out of sight.

The score was narrowed after concerted pressure from York. In what was a terrific response, York patiently increased pressure on the opposition as they edged towards the try line. York were biding their time, waiting for the elusive gap to appear. It did so courtesy of a clever skip pass by fly-half Matt Barton which found Sam Durno on the wing, subsequently going over to narrow the scores. Burton’s following conversion meant York remained very much in the game.

Bishop Burton failed to lie down however and quickly increased their advantage, owing to strong scrummaging and ultimately a penalty try which was duly converted. In what later transpired to be a pivotal period in the game, York were increasingly on top. Having asserted their own physical authority on the game, the pattern of play swayed in the Black and Gold’s favour. The home team were confident in their approach play, as they continued to recycle possession while Bishop Burton suffered a sin bin amidst such persistent pressurising. However, the opposition’s resilience proved to be a wall of defiance and ultimately frustration, as York failed to penetrate their unyielding resistance.

The second half began as dismally as the first for York, conceding a try almost immediately. Soon after, Bishop Burton’s outside centre broke free to run over the second try of the half. It was a torrid period for York, who’s efforts, despite the score line, were unceasing. The home side’s back line were admirable, with Archie Cable making an outstanding recovering tackle as Bishop Burton sought to drive home their advantage. Another two tries were conceded as York desperately attempted to stem the destructive onslaught from the opposition. Cable was demonstrating both his defensive and offensive capabilities, one moment reclaiming the ball to ensure a turn over, the next, darting down the left wing to gain ground deep inside Bishop Burton’s twenty two.

York’s work ethic was rewarded when Sam Durno crossed the line to record his and York’s second try of the match. Having spread the ball out to the right, Matt Barton offloaded to Durno who skipped around his man to score. Despite the failed conversion, York’s play was reminiscent of a team full of confidence which will provide promise for future matches.

The latter stages of the match were dominated by York as Matt Barton made significant ground, his run ending agonisingly close to the touchline. However, it was not long before Ed Suttle bundled over to provide further consolation for the home team.

With the match finishing with York in the ascendancy, the score line failed to truly reflect the pattern of the game. While Bishop Burton must be credited for their unremitting offensive power, York were left to bemoan the period before the break, such was their failure to capitalise on their dominance.

Speaking after the game, York captain Thom Arnott was in agreement, stating, “We didn’t make the most of the last twenty minutes of the first half. It was a tough game today.”

Despite this Arnott was generally optimistic, “There were patches of play where we were on top but the problem was we couldn’t maintain this for the whole eighty minutes. The back line were outstanding, they really raised their tempo today. Archie Cable played really well as did Alex Pakenham-Walsh, who played on the wing despite usually being a flanker.”

Arnott ended on a positive note which bodes well for their subsequent games, “While we are gutted to lose today, the spirit in the camp still remains high.”

York: Burd, Mercer, Wright, Davey, Peacock, Suttle, Chukwulobelu, Arnott (C); Robson, Barton Cable, Thompson, Durno, Pakenham-Walsh, Robinson.

Substitutes: Stewart, Williams

Man of the Match: Archie Cable

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