Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

Ys give league champions a tough test and avoid the drop.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:38

Yards lose to champions but avoid relegation

On Saturday, top of the table Leek visited Tilehouse Lane, and although the home side eventually went down by 19 points to 30, for the majority of the game the sides were evenly matched, and both contributed to the making of an entertaining game, the difference being that Leek were ruthless in converting their few chances whilst the OY's allowed most of theirs to go begging.

The dry conditions suited the mobile Leek side, whose backs ran the ball at every opportunity, but generally their possession was limited by a dominant and aggressive OY's pack which has shown good form throughout the league campaign, and with Dave Rimmer back in the centre, the OY's midfield defence proved sound, to the extent that the first twenty minutes of the first half was something of a stalemate, but with the visitors enjoying the most of the territorial advantage. Best use of possession for the OY's was made by scrum half Tom Grocott with several penetrating breaks, counterattacking from set plays and from the loose.

Midway through the half, an accidental offside at a scrum from a No 8 pickup gave Leek the put in, and quick ball at last gave the visitors' free running backs the opportunity to break the OY's defence and score the first try of the match close to the posts, easily converted..

With the score at 0 – 7, OY's were immediately back on the attack, and well into the Leek half. Possession from a lineout was followed by a forward drive and a quick pass to blind side winger Andy Pearce on a crash ball took play to just short of the visitor's line.  A further phase opened up a gap which saw the OY's stand off in under the posts for a converted try to put the home side back on level terms.

Ten minutes later, even with the OY's pack well on top, Leek were making best use of limited possession, again through their backs. The OY's defence was stopping the man, but not smothering the ball which was being kept alive by effective support play. Overlaps were being created, and eventually, one such overlap caught the OY's short of cover, and a break in the centre saw Leek score their second try, converted to bring the score to 7 – 14. On the stroke of half time OY's suffered a second dose of the same and a third, converted try put the visitors in command at 7 -21.

At half time, OY's rang the changes, adding the pace of Rob Willis to the back row, and the weight and experience of Gary Robinson and John Lonie to the front and second rows respectively. An immediate dividend was paid when Leek, after being pressurised to carry the ball over their own line, the five meter scrum was no contest with the Leek pack being shunted back at a rate of knots to enable No 8 Ben Honey to pick up and go in for a well deserved try. Uncharacteristically, the reliable Honey failed this time with the conversion, his attempt hitting the upright.

With the score at 12 -21, the OY's were unlucky to be penalised at the restart for obstruction, which enabled the visitors t o push the score on to 12 -24. Five minutes later a second penalty to the visitors was converted following an offside offence in midfield, caused when OY's forwards, slow to get across to a breakdown loitered in amongst the backs, and got in each other’s  way.

Toward the end of the match, on 37 minutes, a dropped ball in the Leek midfield on half way was pounced on by  Willis, who made good ground, committed the cover and put in a well weighted kick ahead for winger  Pearce who won the race for the loose ball, collected and outpaced the remaining defence to score in the corner. From wide out, Ben Honey again made no mistake with the conversion, and the score moved to 19 – 27 to the visitors.

On full time, and again with the visitors pressing in the OY's half, once again a penalty was conceded for an offside offence. With no time remaining, Leek elected to kick for goal, and the match closed out with a final score of OY's 19 – Leek 30, the visitors taking two well earned points from the match, to be congratulated for thus consolidating their position as Midlands Three West (North) league winners while results elsewhere ensure safety for the Ys for another season.

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