Powerful performance from the Cats ensures comfortable win (27-8)

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Following on immediately from the rugby thirds, the seconds took to the pitch and provided a win just as emphatic as their predecessors. The match began with a frantic pace as both teams struggled to hold onto possession, making uncharacteristic errors, a product of the culmination of the anticipation which so often builds up around matches in Roses. However after ten minutes and the game’s pace had an inevitably reduced and Lancaster began to make positive steps further forward. After practically camping a few metres outside the York try line the Red Rose made a breakthrough. A scrum lead to a break which saw a burst of pace from Fly-half Henri Bideau who raced past his opponents to the far left side of the pitch and opened the scoring with the first try of the match. Bideau however could not score the subsequent conversion, understandable given the acute angle he was presented with.

Despite Lancaster taking the lead they kept the pressure on York who seemed unable to carve a promising opportunity for a try for themselves. After much possession for Lancaster a well-crafted try was disallowed after the referee had ruled there had been a forward pass in amongst the quick build up. Any disappointment Lancaster might have suffered was soon gone however as a line out played short resulted in Tight-Head prop Jake Hawkins powering through the York line and scoring Lancaster’s second try of the day. Bideau, when presented with another tight angle failed again to score from the conversion. However with Lancaster leading 10-0 it appeared irrelevant. It appeared that the hard work from the comprehensive training which took place in the Easter holidays was paying off, as a few minutes later following another line out Lancaster scored again in the same position in the pitch and with Jake Hawkins scoring his second of the match. This, the last action before half-time, put Lancaster 15-0 as Bideau again struggled with the subsequent conversion then showing his frustration at the profligacy in his kicking.

Immediately after the break York scored a penalty to give them their first points in the match. The game also became a closer contest as York began to repel Lancaster from their try line. Much of the match was played on the half way mark of the pitch. York had their best chance for a try in the match when a quick move down the left flank was thwarted as a player dropped the ball when attempting to break across the Lancaster try line. Soon after that play was halted for a couple of minutes following a very physical clash between two players. After their penalty York continued to push on with their full-back, Rob Pryor making a number of powerful runs which may have opened up some defences but Lancaster’s proved solid and intelligent as it continued to rebuff any promising York attacks.  After soaking up the pressure from York, Lancaster struck again as Open-side flanker James Rowan scored a try, on the far left-hand side of the field after a now characteristic powerful surge from the Lancaster Cats. It was a deserved try from Rowan who had been throwing himself into tackles uninhibited all match, which had help unsteady many York players.

As the clock was ticking and a Lancaster win was feeling even more inevitable, Lancaster burst through to score another try down the middle of the pitch. The centrality of the try meant that Henri Bideau, whose kicking outside of conversions had been exemplary, was given an easier opportunity to convert and he did do with ease. After the match captain Wes Hallam said that all the training had been worth it and the feeling of winning was immense. Given the score line and the performance by the Cats it was hard to disagree that the whole team deserved the immense feeling at the very least.

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