After a humbling weekend for York Sport, the overall trouncing was completed in the Men’s first Rugby Union, the final fixture of the weekend. Similar to the match following the opening ceremony, this match, itself preceding the Closing Ceremony, ended 15- 31 with the York side squandering their initial lead.
York kicked off the match, supported by a huge contingent of fans cheering them on against Lancaster, and made some serious gradual ground. Lancaster attempted to gain some respite in the early stages of the game, but fumbled a penalty as the pressure from the York firsts continued, with most of the play occurring in Lancaster’s half. Lancaster then had another penalty which was kicked upfield but York’s pressure continued. After dominating the match since the start, York tried to score from a subsequent penalty, but the kick skewed sideways, passing up the change to take the lead.
Lancaster punted the ball forwards, and while the initial run was blocked by a try-saving tackle from Lancaster’s Jacob Storey, Pierre Goulin neatly ran it into the corner after York efficiently switched from the left to the right hand side. The conversion was missed, giving York a 5-0 lead.
A poor kick off from Lancaster then lead to York continuing where they left off, by keeping the play in the Lancaster half. During this period, the referee failed to spot an off-the-ball incident between a York player and Lancaster’s #5, leading to jeers from both sets of fans. The play in Lancaster’s half was eventually broken up by a line out, leading to a scrum and a penalty for the Red Rose.
York eventually restored their domination of the match, patiently chipping away at Lancaster’s defence paid dividends for the away side as Mike Waters ran in from close range to make it 12-0. Lancaster immediately got down to the other end and, after some impressive defensive work from York, the home side finally made their breakthrough duly converting and cutting York’s lead to 12-7, sending a wave of enthusiasm through the thousands of home supporters just before the half.
Lancaster kicked off the second half, and, after an initial attack from York, the home team were pinned back. Lancaster were inching forward, before a penalty relieved pressure on York. At the 50 minute mark the game became more end to end, with neither side breaking through. A lineout near the tryline led to a converted try for Lancaster which had York’s lead disappear for the first time in the game. The score was 12-14; this was closely followed by a successful penalty for York on the 67 minute mark, reasserting the lead that the White Rose had and pushing the scores to 15-14.
An anthem of ‘whitewash!’ began to ring out from the York end, but unfortunately this was premature, as a late try from Lancaster completed the home team’s comeback, with York’s defensive line unable to hold firm against Lancaster’s onslaught. A penalty followed kicked from just inside the sticks, with Lancaster overtaking to 15-24. The late tries from Lancaster cemented their win, finishing the match on 15-31, ending Roses 2018 in the way it had begun: a pitch invasion with a semi naked participant. Speaking after the match, York Sport President, Laura Carruthers berated that the match “was the story of the weekend” with York sides racing ahead and then Lancaster “found something extra at half-time.” but commended the efforts of all York athletes nonetheless.
Roses will once again be white.