The York Raiders, the University’s new Rugby League club, lost out to a team made up of University of Hull and York St John University players in their first ever match as a club. The Raiders were supposed to compete in a 9s tournament, but after Teesside University failed to show, Hull and York St John agreed to make it a full game and merge their teams.
Whilst the game ended early due to a number of injuries to the York players – York’s medic, Carl Culshaw, was arguably the busiest man at the match – the match was one to be thoroughly enjoyed. Although the match ended in a 54-20 defeat, it gave York some invaluable experience ahead of their exhibition match against the Lancaster Lynx at Roses next week.
York went down early to a converted try. Most of the Raiders had stopped whilst they appealed for a knock-on, but the Hull/St John players did not stop and ran through to score the first try of the match.
The Raiders pulled it back to 4-6 with a try of their own from Mike Gaskell, but a difficult kick meant that it was not converted. York were soon made to regret the missed conversion when Hull/St John got their second try of the quarter. The try was born of brute force, as one of the Hull/St John forwards powered through York’s defence who were at a loss as to how to stop him.
Not to be deterred, York battled back once more and scored their second try of the quarter, Matt Dickinson squeezing the ball over the line after a series of sustained pressure at the Hull/St John 10 metre line. The Raiders registered their first conversion thanks to James Plant, and cut Hull/St John’s lead to just two points.
The start of the second quarter saw York come out flying, pressing Hull/St John closer and closer to their goal line. However, a stray pass meant that York dropped the ball, leading to a turnover.
York’s resurgence was curtailed by another try for Hull/St John. A harmless kick over the back line was seized upon by Hull/St John, whose player simply had too much pace and ran through unopposed to reassert his side’s lead.
Another kick had a hand in the next try, when Hull/St John kicked across their own goal line whilst under pressure from York. The kick was dropped by Hull/St John and Alan Willits was alert enough to pounce and score a simple try.
Hull/St John scored their final try of the second quarter in controversial fashion. They capitalised on what appeared to be a knock-on, but once the ball was dropped, the Hull/St John player managed to kick the ball before it hit the floor and collected the ball to score.
The third quarter saw injuries and fatigue take its toll on York. Holes started appearing in York’s defence, meaning that Hull/St John scored four tries unanswered to effectively end the tie as a contest.
York still had one try left in them. Despite being down to their bare bones, Chris Corr bundled the ball over the line after a quick tap kick. The responsibility of kicking fell to Rob Culshaw who, after being one of many players to play the majority of the match, toe-poked a successful conversion to earn his place on the scoresheet.
Hull/St John closed the game with their final try before the game was ended and York could reflect on their maiden outing.
“For the first game after a few training sessions, it was a challenge. Our attacking was good but we lacked in defence which we will work on for Roses. We would like to thank York St John and Hull for giving us a tough game. We’ll look to crack on with a few sessions for Roses and next year’s BUCS.”
Try Scorers: Matt Dickinson, Mike Gaskell, Chris Coor, Alan Willits
Conversions: James Plant, Rob Culshaw
York Raiders Squad: P. Johnson (C), P. Hick, M. Dickinson, L. Slater, J. Williams, J. Plant, M. Gaskell, C. Corr, B. Bishop, R. Culshaw, O. MacDonald, A. Willits, J. Canevet, D. Harr-Alexander, H. Reid, Z. Gorley, O. Turner
Player of the Match: Carl Culshaw