Cats reign victorious in battle of the Roses

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Photo by Jay Theis

Lancaster 17 – York 10

The Lancaster Rugby Union first XV will be the first to admit that this season has been a tough one. Gaining promotion in the 2010-2011 season to the division was a huge challenge for the Cats. However, as is always the case with promotion, the challenge of staying in that league was always going to be a monumental test. Results have been hard to come by, and the Cats have come under fire from certain areas with their commitment and drive coming into question and simple results being taken out of context from their actual performances.

These views were put well and truly too bed in their match against Roses rivals York, as Lancaster lay down a real statement of intent. The road out of the relegation zone is far from clear, but one thing is certain, the Cats are not going down without a fight and what better way to show it than against age old rivals York?

The first half looked to start badly for Lancaster, with York running in an early try which they converted. However, amid an early exchange of scrum infringements, Lancaster were able to claim a try through Tom Williams to put themselves on the scoreboard.

The referees whistle was seldom silent however, and it was close on half time when York found themselves with a man in the sin bin, just metres out from their own try line. It took the Cats mere seconds to capitalize with Captain Wilf Whittle barging home from close range to put Lancaster ahead. Lancaster’s Tim Holloway found himself sent to the bin before half time which levelled the playing field to 14 players a piece for a short period.

York began the second half promisingly, levelling the score to ten points each after Lancaster found themselves offside near their own five metre line.

Lancaster began to put the foot back on the accelerator, yet York responded with increased physicality, forcing the Cats onto the back foot after a dangerous line out near the York try line came to nothing.

Some inspirational defending from the Cats on their own line was all that kept the physical York attack from breaking through. At one point, it even looked as if York’s fly half had sneaked through the line, only for Lancaster to regain control of the ball and run it out of danger.

As the intensity of the game began to increase, it was Lancaster who made the breakthrough in the scoreboard much to the admiration of the jubilant crowd. A smart line from Olly Vidgeon saw him appear on the outside of his winger to race down the right flank and touch down for try. Greg Smith added the two points in comfortable fashion.

The Cats were not home and dry just yet however, and a period of desperate defending on their own try line resumed once more. Lancaster’s heroic defense rose to the challenge  and turned over the ball only to launch into a blistering attack down the left wing.

With seconds to go and the knowledge that a converted York try would lead to a draw, the White Rose led the charge once more after Lancaster conceded a penalty. Fortunately for Lancaster, the ball worked its way to the York winger who dropped the it behind him only to recover and be bundled into touch.

The final whistle sounded for a 17-10 victory to the Red Rose.

Captain Wilf Whittle had this to say after the game; ‘The lads worked hard, putting their body on the line over and over again. However, we didn’t play brilliantly and still have plenty to work on.’

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