In the first league game of 2019 the YM were still in a festive mood as they played Santa Claus to visitors Bradford and Bingley gifting them a 23 point lead, before turning into the Grinch and taking it all back again.
To borrow a footballing cliché this was most definitely a game of 2 halves!
From the kick off the B’s gave notice of their intentions and ran the ball straight at the heart of the YM defence which buckled after 6 minutes when B’s number 8 Tom Cummins forced his way over for a try, which was converted by scrum half Lance Taylor. 0-7
Stead had chance to get the YM on the board moments later but his penalty attempt was wide.
YM came back and a solid effort by the forwards saw a catch and drive at the line out allow them to set up a maul which powered over the visitors line leaving Ben Hill to claim the try. Again Stead came up short on the conversion. 5-7
So far so good, and things looked even brighter moments later when Stead took advantage of a penalty awarded after a high tackle to take the YM into a slender lead. 8-7
Then the wheels came off!!
Bradley was sin binned for failing to retire 10 metres at a penalty giving the momentum back to the visitors as they took advantage of his lack of discipline by slotting the conversion. 8-10
Bradford had discipline problems of their own and after another high tackle their number 8 Tom Cummins was also dismissed to the bin.
Stead couldn’t take advantage of the penalty and from that point it turned into a one sided affair, with Bradford having the bulk of the ball and territory. Coupled with some atrocious tackling by the YM, the writing was on the wall and the home support began to fear the worst.
It started with a good break by the B’s outside centre Jack Malthouse, from inside his own half as he beat off every attempt to tackle him as he sprinted for the line. Taylor tagged on the extras for 8-17
This was quickly followed by a score from B’s stand off Johnson who sliced through a poor defence to add to his sides tally with Taylor once again adding the extras points from the conversion. 8-24
YM managed to hold out for the remaining few minutes up to half time.
Direct from the restart things got even worse when the visitors recycled the ball quickly out to the left wing, who promptly danced his way past what purported to be the defence and was set to score had it not been for a last ditch tackle from his opposite number Tetley. Unfortunately the referee judged Tetley’s tackle to have been high and did not hesitate to award a penalty try, bringing the score to 8-31 a gap of 23 points. At the same time Tetley was yellow carded for his efforts.
The signs were ominous and talk of a 50 point drubbing began circulating in the stands, which made what followed even more remarkable. The YM suddenly kicked into gear. Perhaps initially the visitors may have eased back thinking they had done enough for the win, but very quickly they realised that the game was far from won as the YM took them head on and at pace.
The first indications came after the YM had forced a series of penalties and moved upfield. On the back of a good driving maul the YM were making headway towards the B’s line. The B’s defence couldn’t hold it other than by coming in at the side to try and disrupt it and in doing so they immediately fell foul of the referee who awarded a penalty try to the YM and dispatched the B’s man to the bin. 15-31
No cause for panic in the B’s camp yet you might think, but that’s exactly what happened. The YM now fancied the task in hand and swarmed upfield with real purpose. Strong driving in the forwards saw big gaps created and the backs took full advantage. Garden replaced Bull at stand off and the switch in playing styles confused the visitors, with Garden forcing their defence to check by making sniping runs at every opportunity and not allowing them to organise.
Again excellent work by the pack forced a series of scrums and it was clear the visitors were tiring and starting to give ground. On a well won scrum Bradley sold a dummy and sent the ball out to the short side where it found its way to Tetley who forced himself over in the corner. Stead added an excellent conversion to bring the tally to 22-31
It was all the YM now and the supporters dared to hope.
Their cause was helped when having returned to full numbers B’s influential number 8 Cummins succumbed to a moment of further ill discipline, compounding the situation by taking issue with the referee, for which he rapidly exited the field on the back of a red card.
With YM tails up Stead led the charge and was on hand to batter his way through the defensive line leaving himself a clear run in to score close to the posts. He rubbed salt in the wounds by converting to add the extra points. 29-31
Nerves were fraying on both sides with the visitors supporters praying their men could just hang on and the YM supporters willing their side on to victory. Everything was in the balance but the YM still looked in control.
The final outcome was determined by a flash of individual brilliance by full back Sam Fletcher from inside his own half, from where he squirmed free of the tacklers and into open space where his outright pace took him into the B’s 22. As the defence closed in around him Tetley was there in support to finish off the move and get the decisive score for the YM. Stead was off target with the conversion but against the odds the YM had hauled back a 23 point deficit to find themselves in the lead with little time left on the clock. 34-31
In the final minutes the YM kept cool heads and denied the visitors access to the ball until the referee called time of what had been a quite remarkable game of rugby.
Final Score 34-31
Hats off to all the players from both sides for their contribution to what by any standards, was a well contested and thrilling game of rugby. Well done!
Team: Fletcher, Tetley, Van Rooyen, Stead, Clough, Bull, Bradley, Slater, Hill, Dyke, Housley, Black, Garside, Hodge, Lumb.
Interchange: Garden, Scholes, Tindall.
|05/01/2019||3:00 pm||North 1 East||2018|
|Laund Hill Stadium|
|33 Hadrian\'s Cl, Huddersfield HD3 3XZ, UK|
|Huddersfield YMCA RUFC||34|
|Bradford & Bingley||31|
Huddersfield YMCA RUFC
Bradford & Bingley