Barnsley secure the Yorkshire Div 2 Title with a 63-10 win at home to Yarnbury.
A cold and blustery wind greeted a large (and mostly well-fed) crowd at Shaw Lane for the final home game of the season. The home side needed a bonus win to be champions, and a win would ensure promotion. Yarnbury’s recent form has been reasonably good and they were good winners in their last league game against Selby. On the next door pitch, the Development side were entertaining Thorne with a similar opportunity to become merit table winners, and so gain promotion to the Yorkshire Championship!
Yarnbury set off as if they were the team in pursuit of the title, and for the first five minutes they hammered away, with Barnsley not able to get the ball. The big Yarnbury pack drove forward and it was stout defence that held them out. A great catch and mark by Scorah set the home team on its way, and soon after Jensen slipped a great pass to Gaunt who scored under the posts for Jensen to convert. One consequence of this move was that Buckingham took an off-ball tackle that left him winded and it was some time before he was ready to restart. Next score came from Hinchcliffe – rightly named as man of the match – who kicked ahead, tackled the Yarnbury defender, won the ball and dived into the corner. This time Jensen could only hit the upright, but he followed up with a forty yard penalty into the wind. Up front it was clear that the home team pack had taken control with a dominant Naisby, Casson and Hobson up front and from a strong surge the ball was spun wide for Hinchcliffe to show his pace and score again, Jensen converting from wide out. Twenty minutes gone, twenty points on the board!
A short period of Yarnbury possession ended when an attempted chip was caught by Gaunt who steamed over the try line to give Barnsley a fourth try, a bonus point and, so long as they won the match, the championship. There was great defensive work next from Wragg, Robinson and Iles preventing Yarnbury from scoring. The visitors persisted in playing open rugby, much to their credit and they never gave up as Barnsley took control. A huge drive by the forwards put Jensen in range with the ensuing penalty, and the half ended with the silky hands of Jordan Wood slipping a great pass to Dave Reed
who came close to scoring his usual try. Half time was reached with another Jensen penalty, and a score of 35-0.
The second half began with some sluggish play by the home team, and coach Smith began to change things, bringing South on for Robinson, whose first half performance merited a huge cheer as he left the field, and Hobson was replaced by Smith. A little later Peel came on for Jensen but it was a fine move out wide that saw Yarnbury open their score when winger Clarke ended a really good move. Barnsley woke up when Wood stole a line out ball, drove his mighty frame into the visitors’ defence and earned a penalty. Gaunt took it quickly, looked around, saw space to run through and complete his hat trick- a fine display of aggressive attacking play matched by some very strong tackling. Further ‘tries’ were denied to Francis and Reed when the referee ruled them ‘held up’ but Chris Lunn from the East Yorks had an excellent game, clearly in control and helping play continue whenever possible. Yarnbury were next to score when some messy Barnsley play gave the visitors a chance to go almost full length and score, despite the presence of South in a defensive role.
Captain Reed’s try finally came after a superb forward drive took them over the line and gave him his 26th try of the season and Appleyard converted to take the score past 50. It was this same player who scored the final try, which was probably the best of the day. Reed took a Yarnbury kick off and as usual stormed ahead. From the ensuing ruck, Francis spun the ball out, it went through several hands until Appleyard ran onto it at great pace, and ran half the field to go over under the posts to provide himself with an easy conversion. At this point the referee brought the game to an end with a score of 63-10. Jubilant scenes followed both on and off the field, and a lasting image is of the victorious second team matching the first team’s victory chants at one end of the field. A great finale to a wonderful home season, but there remains an away match at West Park and the shield semi final to come. As often, this win was a team victory, built around a dominant and well led pack of forwards, with an increasingly confident back division icing the cake! Well done boys!