York Women’s Rugby Club rose from the mud with continued enthusiasm and vehement desire in their second BUCS fixture of the season. They fought on admirably despite the ever-growing Sheffield lead and cold conditions of 22 Acres.
Beginning the season with a notably new team and coach, Ian Thomson, they got off to a good start and a York scrum in the opening minutes of the game. However it was Sheffield that scored the first try four minutes in. Luckily they failed to convert it, a continuous trend throughout the game despite the final score.
Sheffield remained in possession but thanks to a strong tackle from captain Brymer another break through was prevented and York began to show some authority over the ball. Still early on in the game, York pushed into Sheffield’s half with strong passes and a clear line showing some hope for the team, but this was quickly quashed to the dismay of the sidelines in a Sheffield turnover.
After another try from the opposition and another failed conversion, although to the place kicker’s credit it was slightly closer, it became clear that Sheffield were sadly dominating both ball and field.
Cleverly kicking it into the corner on several occasions meant that York were unable to get the ball out of their half for an extended period of time. There were some good tackles made but they lacked the force and support to take any effect and push Sheffield back. This resulted in a score of 0-20, still with no conversions, twenty-five minutes into the first half.
At one point, despite York’s best efforts, Sheffield’s fly-half was simply running through. The combination of poor throws, noted by Thomson shouting from the sidelines, and greater speed in the opposition meant the end of the first half was perhaps not the ladies’ finest.
This was especially true for Layley who was knocked unconscious with only minutes to go. Welby reported on Twitter that upon waking her first words were “I’m fine, I didn’t pass out”. Dejectedly, she woke to a final score of 0-25 at the end of the second half.
It would have been incredibly impressive if York had turned it around but the game preceded as it had in the first half. York continued to try to push through but Sheffield were far more aggressive in their movements. If anything their play was at times too combative consecutively losing two players for unsafe tackles.
This opened up opportunities for York, Hull-Steward took advantage of being two players up but was unable to offload effectively, instead giving the ball away cheaply in contact. They then suffered for it several minutes later as McKeown just missed out on a chance to breakthrough with the help of Brymer.
Consequentially it was Sheffield who scored the first try and converted it, even with the lack of players they were able to keep up the scoring of the first half. It was Sheffield’s fly half that really continued to make her presence known in the York end; darting amongst the second row and individually scoring 10 points in five minutes.
Hinchcliffe picked up some momentum and ran forward along the Sheffield line but the opposition’s focus on attack meant that the whole of the York team really needed to focus on their defence. Rather than drifting across the field as the ball moved along the attacking line, individuals surged forward with no support, this meant that every time their efforts were fruitless.
That being said the enthusiasm with which the team played is an achievement in itself as it suggests that they are willing to put the work in to really improve and progress. The final score was 0-42, a significant score loss but a starting point to advance on.
York: Penney, Massey, Best, Stockdale, Daly, Brymer, Shiels, Pryzgodski, Foster, Layley, Seagrave, Ralph, Hull-Steward, Hinchcliffe, McKeown, Ostheim, Poulton, Hunter, Holmes, Buckley, Davies, Deed