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Lancaster 5-12 York
After observing their female counterparts take York to the cleaners, expectations and confidence were both running high prior to kick off in the Lancaster camp. A frantic opening section ensued with both outfits looking to spread play wide and make full use of the pitch. Big defence and expansive offence were features throughout this closely fought contest.
York enjoyed much of the early possession but stoic Lancastrian defence resulted in turnovers and a relatively even game. Despite a lot of attacking intent on show, both teams failed to capitalise when more precision was needed but this was perhaps due to the intensity of the tackles being put in.
An important dimension to the game was the power possessed by the York forwards which resulted in many turnovers at the scrum for the visitors. It was from one of these turnovers that York opened the scoreline. Some swift handling at pace enabled the York winger to squeeze over in the corner. A difficult conversion was left and it unsurprisingly sailed wide.
The pattern of the game continued with the powerful forwards of York providing their dangerous outside backs time and space. However, it was an individual piece of brilliance that led to the Lancaster defence being unlocked again. A kick and chase over the defense allowed the speedy York player to retrieve the ball in the in-goal area.
Despite the high skill levels shown beforehand, it was unclear whether the ball was grounded in the correct manner for the try but the referee decided it was legitimate. As the try was scored in a central area of the pitch, the simple conversion was successful. This was the final act of the first half leaving the half time scoreline reading Lancaster 0-12 York.
The second half immediately picked up where the first half had left off. York kicked off and retrieved the ball unopposed. Unsurprisingly, when Lancaster regained possession, their efforts in defence meant that they were struggling to break the strong York tackles irrespective of the good handling skills exhibited.
Further physicality from York restricted Lancaster to their own 22 metre zone until a great set piece move looked certain to end in a walk in try for winger Ron Todd until he inexplicably knocked on metres from the York line.
However, the Lancaster efforts were rewarded in the last passage of the game when a quick tap penalty and some slick handling enabled substitute Jake Hawkins to score a well deserved try in the corner; the difficult conversion was missed resulting in the final score reading Lancaster 5-12 York.
Unfortunately, the York captain was unavailable to comment after the game but an out of breath Lancaster captain, Luke Flanagan stated “we played well with a young and inexperienced team out. We had a good second half performance and think we deserved a better result.”
After a close fought game which could have gone either way towards the end, both squads were optimistic about their chances of glory in the 15 a side version of the game.