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In a dramatic finish, the Lancaster Rugby Union Seconds were extremely unlucky to come away empty handed as York completed its whitewash of victories in the men’s rugby.
A York penalty opened the scoring before Lancaster’s Andy Muir took full advantage of some quick passing from the backs to work an overlap on the right hand side to cross over for the first try. Fly half Sam Marnard stepped up to add the conversion. A penalty for York however allowed the home side to close the gap to a point. A great break from Lancaster’s 14 took play up to Yorks 22, forcing a penalty from the York defence which Maynard was unlucky not to score. After a fantastic kick to touch which took play close to the York try line, Ollie Lewis was able to extend Lancasters lead, pouncing on a charged down clearance kick. York responded with a successful penalty kick of their own before a knock on prevented the home side from taking a lead into the second half.
Ill discipline on both sides proved to be the theme of the game, epitomised by yellow cards for James Cassuli and a York player at the start of the second half. York profited time and time again from Lancaster mistakes around the ruck in their own half whilst York’s ball handling at times left much to be desired. A try saving tackle from Lancaster’s Liam Power kept the White Rose from the try line, yet York proved they didn’t need a try to keep the pressure on the Lancaster defence, forcing a kickable penalty at the ruck which brought the score to 12-12. A promising Lancaster attack was promptly countered by a York counter attack which turned the game into an end to end contest. However, whilst the Lancaster attack failed to capitalize, ill displine ensured that the York attack were rewarded for their effort with three points to gain a 15-12 lead to the jubilation of the home crowd.
The game was far from won and both sides were desperate to achieve victory going into the last five minutes of the game. The atmosphere was tense as York conceded a penalty within kicking range forcing the monumental decision of whether to seek the draw or go for victory. Lancaster opted to go for the corner, yet were unable to capitalize after a fumble at the lineout gave possession cheaply back to York. Luckily Lancaster were presented with another opportunity which they opted to run, yet unbelievably York turned the ball over and kicked the ball out of play to clinch the victory much to the dismay of a devastated Lancaster side.
After the game, team Captain Ollie Lewis was full of praise for his side; “I am so pleased with my teams performance they wore their heart on their sleeves and played with passion. The performance on Saturday demonstrated that although we haven’t got the best facilities we have got a great set of lads who are willing to put their body on the line. Although the game didn’t go to plan and we were all devastated, it is a great legacy for the team next year to push on and get the win. I wish Toby Holder-Williams all the best for next season.”