York’s rugby firsts have still yet to suffer defeat in 2009 after this comprehensive victory over Leeds University on Sunday. The 34-0 success was achieved in fine style, with little evidence of close season rustiness. Ed Drewett and Tom Buggé scored two tries apiece, with Matt Pollen and Peter Nathan also on the scoresheet as York’s White Rose neighbours were overwhelmed in most areas. Both sides took advantage of the opportunity to rotate their squads prior to the onset of BUCS competition this week. York commence their league season against the University of Liverpool tomorrow, their first outing in Division 1A.
Leeds brought their entire squad with the intention of blooding several freshers in a match divided into four quarters of 20 minutes each, although a number of first teamers were absent after playing for Leeds Carnegie RUFC in the Premiership. In front of a sizeable crowd on the 22 Acres, York launched into attack mode from the kick-off, their early endeavours rewarded when Buggé crossed the tryline on five minutes.
Richard Bremner did the spadework on the left-hand side and nearly broke clear himself before the ball was flicked into space on the opposite flank. Bremner’s assist was the first of many positive contributions from the winger in an energetic first half. Ten minutes later, he again stormed clear down the left, only to be tackled within sight of the line, although Leeds had hauled themselves back into the game by this point.
York on the break during Sunday’s 34-0 demolition of local rivals Leeds. Photograph by George Lowther.
As is often the case in contests between York and Leeds, the clash contained a certain amount of needle, demonstrated by sin bins for Rory McGregor and a Leeds inside-centre for a dangerously high tackle. A number of changes were made to both sides at the 20-minute mark, and it was York who struck the next blow. Buggé sprinted along the touchline to score after efficient build-up work by Drewett through the centre.Pollen’s try followed hot on the heels, moving the score to 17-0 and putting the game beyond the reach of Leeds, who were beaten twice by York en route to promotion last season.
One of the few negatives from the afternoon came when Mike Ager, the hosts’ number eight, limped off with a suspected hamstring injury just before half time. His absence didn’t affect the flow of play, a fourth score arriving courtesy of Drewett and again following excellent play from Buggé to stretch the lead to 22-0.
York’s rugby team proved far too strong for Leeds on Sunday. Photograph by George Lowther.
The second period continued in much the same vein, only with a noticably reduced tempo. Leeds had introduced some fresh-faced players and, despite being unseasoned at this standard, they limited York to just two more tries. Nathan crossed over after yet more imaginative work from Buggé to exploit the space, Rob Grant kicking the extras, before Drewett rounded off an entirely convincing afternoon’s work in the closing stages.
Reflecting on the afternoon’s work-out, club President Rob Grant said: “I was pleased with how things went today, a win against Leeds is never easy and I felt we put in a solid team performance overall. Our defence was a particular strength, and to go the entire game without conceding any points is a real positive.
“Credit goes to the forwards who worked hard all day, dominating Leeds at the scrum and creating a platform at the breakdown from which to unleash our backs out wide.“With regards to the back line, I felt we worked well as a unit and showed some real pace and flair at times.”
YORK LINE UP
1. Ben Innes
2. James Stone
3. Rupert Grant
4. Mike Callis
5. Alex Redshaw
6. Matt Pollen
7. Rory McGregor
8. Mike Ager
9. Tim Sparkleton
10. Rob Grant
11. Richard Bremner
12. Gryff Jones
13. Ed Drewett
14. Peter Nathan
15. Tom Buggé
Man of the Match: Tom Buggé (York) – involved in everything going forward.