Tigers triumph over Teeside in top of table rugby clash

York Tigers 42-20 Teesside

This season the York Tigers Rugby League Club has been one of York’s most successful teams, representing both York University and York St Johns. They were unbeaten in all competitions until last week when they lost narrowly away at Northumbria. Re-invigorated however, the Tigers got back to their winning ways at home to Teeside this week, keeping their title challenge alive with a landslide 42-20 win.

York took the game to their opposition from the kick off and started with two consecutive sets of six tackles, resulting in a try only two minutes in. Ten minutes later and Teesside’s reckless handling led to a scrum for York twenty meters out. From there the Tigers pilled on the pressure patiently and were able to cross for a second.

York made it 16-0 shortly after as Teeside tried to slow the game down.

From the resulting penalty the Tigers implemented a training pitch move spreading the ball one way then switching direction, spreading the ball wide for a try in the corner. Against the run of play Teesside scored their first points of the afternoon when a quick break from the Teesside centre took play to the 5 metre line and a missed pass fooled the Tigers line and Teesside crossed for a simple run in.

The home defence was able to comfortably deal with the infrequent Teesside attacks and successfully forced them to make poorly positioned kicks from the 5th tackle on several occasions, and proved to be quick work for the Tigers’ wingers.

The Tigers scored twice more, wrapping the game up just before half time thanks to a perfectly timed pass by York scrum half Rob Llewellyn. It split the Teesside defence apart and created an easy run in for the inside centre, taking the score at the break to 32-4.

York started the second half the way they finished the first. Five minutes in they scored a 60 metre try. Slick handling and a well executed inside pass released York’s backs who passed intelligently and the outside centre ran clear from the despairing Teesside defenders.

Complacency began to creep in and Teesside had a minor comeback through a comical try. The York players all stopped to take a breather, believing the referee had given a knock on. However Teesside played to the whistle and the centre picked the ball up and walked 20metres to touchdown under the posts.

The move of the game came midway through the second period as the Tigers’ backs were able to make good use of their impressive handling skills. The ball was effortlessly spread across the entire back row and the scrambling away defence were hopeless in preventing the left winger from making a courageous dive over the line in the corner.

Teesside never gave up and got two consolation tries due to sloppy Tigers defence but were clearly too far behind on the score sheet to have any realistic chance of getting something out of the game.

Club captain Ian Watkinson was happy with his side’s performance. “I’m pleased to have bounced back so well after last week, we will aim to go unbeaten now for the rest of the season. The team are progressing well and I am confident of topping this division.” If they can continue to show the same athletic prowess and savvy in their following matches, there should be no reason for the York Tigers not to live up to these words.

By Thomas Simpson – sports correspondent.
Photo by Georgi Mabee