City U16's hand on to victory over Acklam
Sunday April 22nd
Durham City 17 Acklam RFC 5
The home side were woefully depleted by cry offs, with only 12 players available to start the final game of the season. Acklam did us proud by “loaning” three players for the kick off, and Alex Trotman arrived ten minutes into the game. Against a physical looking Acklam team, City looked like they would have their hands full, but began the game brightly enough with very good support play taking possession into the visitors 22m area. It was obvious that the boys that had turned up were keen to have a game and the encouraging play both at the breakdown and in the loose culminated in Keagan Daniels powering over for the game’s first try after ten minutes. City 5 Acklam 0
The next fifteen minutes saw Acklam completely dominate possession and City defend resolutely from within their own 22m area. Messrs Andrew Daglish, Rhys Powell and Rasih Hitchins (despite the latter being forced to play prop for the first time) were all putting in some excellent work in contact, and from a succession of Acklam tap penalties in the City 22, the game entered critical phase. Twice the visitors went over the City line but were held up. On the second occasion, Alex Tunstall, not only held up two attackers, he also regained possession and ran the ball up the line away from danger. However, eventually Acklam switched their line of attack and scored a deserved try. City 5 Acklam 5
The home side’s response was immediate and decisive. From the restart City took the ball deep into the visitors half with a surging run by David Berriman on the wing. The weather had deteriorated rapidly and handling was now very difficult as first heavy rain and then hail lashed across the pitch. From the resultant line out City disrupted the jumpers and it was a City hand which grounded the ball first. The referee however had seen a knock on in the first instance, so no try was given. From the resultant scum City pressed, and good quick distribution from James Milne and Alex Trotman saw the Acklam defence stretched and Robbie Metson entered the line and scored in the left corner. Good rugby and a positive response in difficult conditions. Alex Trotman kicked an awkward conversion well. Half time City 12 Acklam 5
The second half saw the weather dry out and the introduction of uncontested scrums. The game was very open and certainly a tight contest between the two packs. One of the key advantages that City possessed was the threat from their back row to disrupt their opponents’ ball. Whilst both teams were also guilty of handling errors, unfortunately City tended to drop or knock on when they had good attacking opportunities, whereas the Acklam errors ensured that the play remained in their half and the pressure was maintained by the home team. City earned a whole series of penalties in the visitors’ 22m area, and good support play Keagan Daniels, backing up a run by Rasih Hitchins, saw the No.8 go over for his second try of the match. City 17 Acklam 5
That score gave Durham some breathing space and coincided with both teams losing some focus in what had been to that point, a closely contested game. From the restart, Rasih Hitchins caught the ball and ran a great line at pace to home in on what would have been a stand out solo try. Unselfishly however, in attempting to draw the defending full back, his pop pass to David Berriman went to ground and City’s last real foray of the game ended. The remainder of the game was spoiled by too many interruptions caused by minor offences and a lack of discipline. Acklam did keep pressing for a consolation score, but to no avail. Full time: City 17 Acklam 5
A real mixed bag of a game with some great commitment from the players who turned up, by both teams, a good contest and a reasonably open game given the conditions. Equally, for the second time this season we could not field a full fifteen players, and we were not clinical in taking the chances we had. Acklam with a bit more discipline and composure, particularly in the final 20 minutes, could have made it a lot closer contest, which will be disappointing for them.
Man of the Match: Andy Daglish was outstanding from start to finish. Not only did he make his customary yardage in attack with some strong evasive running, he also looked to pass and made excellent use of the support players. Most of all however, he was so effective in spoiling the possession of the opposition. Great work rate, courage and fitness, and in addition, Andy showed great composure and did not over react when the game became ill disciplined in its latter stages. Well played Andy, and enjoy your summer of rugby league mate.