YORKSHIRE AVOID RELEGATION WITH WIN OVER DURHAM

25 May

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YORKSHIRE AND DURHAM TAKE THE FIELD

RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

THE BILL BEAUMONT CUP

Report and pictures by Dave Campbell

Yorkshire: 20 Durham 5

Referee: Mr Andrew Rawson Attendance: 892

Fourteen hours of torrential rain last Friday evening into Saturday morning saw a magnificent effort by staff and volunteers at Scarborough Rugby Club make sure the pitch was in good condition for this vital County Championship relegation battle.

Both sides knew only victory would save them from relegation to the second tier of the competition so an ‘all or nothing’ physical contest was very much in prospect and that’s exactly what the big Silver Royd turnout got. The game was never going to be a classic and that’s how it turned out. Yorkshire dominated the early exchanges through their powerful pack and it looked as if they would be the deciding factor in the game; however behind the Tyke’s powerful eight the back division struggled with the slippery ball and their handling and ball retention left much to be desired.

When Durham did get some possession they struggled to cross the gain line due to their tendency to lateral movement with no one looking to straighten up the line or inject some pace and although the Yorkshire backs had a glut of possession, they lacked the penetration to bother a steady Durham defensive line. This made for a pretty turgid first half with much of the game played in the middle third of the field. A great break by Sandal’s Greg Wood for Yorkshire cut a swath through the Durham defence on the half-hour and he sent Tamasi Tanumi powering through but the Beverley centre was hauled back by referee Mr Rawson for Wood’s forward pass.

On a rare foray into Yorkshire territory just before the break Durham won a five metre attacking scrum but lost possession and their chance had gone. An exchange of penalty attempts between Durham’s Andrew Baggett and Wood was unsuccessful but a penalty by Wood on the stroke of halftime broke the impasse and Yorkshire led 3-0 at the break.

Yorkshire started the second half purposefully and won a penalty at a scrum in the 44th minute; Wood found touch just inside the Durham 22 and a superb catch by lock Royce Cadman was driven to the line for No8 Gavin Jones to burrow over for the first try of the game. Wood added the extras for a 10-0 lead.

Yorkshire continued to boss the forward exchanges and thrilled the big crowd with some superb driving play but all too often it culminated in a dropped pass when the ball was moved away from the big men. And the jitters must have been catching as the forwards drove to the Durham line for what looked like a certain try only to lose control of the ball right on the line. However they did get the cushion their play deserved when Mr Rawson reversed a Durham penalty on their own 22 and Wood nudged his side 13-0 ahead in the 51st minute.

If perhaps not the most skilful of games the commitment from both sides was total and it was a bruising encounter which momentarily spilled over on the touchline with a bit of handbags. Yorkshire continued to dominate but a lack of composure and perhaps a touch of ‘white line’ fever frustrated their over anxious midfield.

When the clinching try came it was predictably through the forwards, Cadman once more secured at an attacking lineout on the five metre line and Ionians’ open-side flanker Kerry Wood drove over low and hard. Greg Wood converted for 20-0 in the 71st minute. With the game gone, Durham threw caution to the wind and put together some delightful running rugby for the first time in the game and it was no surprise when a slick move down their left flank sent substitute Ralph Appleby scampering over in the corner in the 80th minute. Baggett was unsuccessful with his touchline conversion attempt which was the last kick of the game.

The game was disappointing as a spectacle with handling and ball retention a problem for both sides with the occasion getting to many players. For Yorkshire the pack turned in a match-winning performance with Ionians’ Steve Johnson in dominant mood and the back row of Ben Morris, Kerry Wood and Gavin Jones, working hard in the ‘muck and nettles’ area. For Durham under their coach Pete Taylor the loss of three players leading up the game, including Horden second row Dan Palmer who broke a leg in the Cheshire game made their task even more difficult against Yorkshire’s powerful forwards.

Yorkshire: Coad Flockhart Martin Taumi Broadley Wood Hallam Moss Rice Johnson Cadman Hayter Morris Wood Jones Substitutes: Thomas Bateman Maycock Tamanis Steel Temm Gray

Durham: Hallam Thirkell Bayford Wearmouth Dent Vinnicombe Bell Powell Mellish Baggett Sole Hyndman Holmes Jeffrey Evans Substitutes: Appleby Rollins Burns Bateman J. Evans Finney Myers

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CURTAIN RAISER BETWEEN YORKSHIRERUGBY.NET AND OVERSEAS ALL STARS

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YORKSHIRE’S FIRST TRY SCORED BY FLANKER GAVIN JONES

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GAVIN JONES ON THE CHARGE

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YORKSHIRE LAY SIEGE TO THE VISITOR’S LINE IN THE FIRST HALF

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KERRY WOODS DRIVES OVER FOR YORKSHIRE’S SECOND TRY

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