Sedge fall short of New Earswick fight back win
THE returning Oliver Priestley almost inspired a memorable second half comeback as Odsal Sedbergh were beaten 34-26 by New Earswick at Odsal Rec.
Oliver – who had opted to stop playing earlier in the season – came out of retirement to boost a depleted Odsal side who could only raise 13 players for the game.
Sedge knew the challenge that lay ahead as they faced an All Blacks side sitting second in the Championship One table and following a stuttering start it looked like they would be on the end of a one-sided score line.
However, first half tries from Scott Smith and Robert Priestley kept Odsal in the hunt at the break.
And much like their last home game against Brotherton Odsal proved ruthless up the hill as they controlled the second half and threatened an unlikely comeback.
Two tries from Oliver Priestley got the Black and Golds back in the game and when Sam Greenwood crossed untouched it looked like the home side could pick up an unlikely win.
But the visitors sured up their defence and a late penalty was enough for them to take the points back to York.
The hosts endured a nightmare start when the All Blacks marched up the field in the first set and then capitalised on Sedge’s hesitancy from a high bomb to score on the last tackle.
Things didn’t get any better for the home side as New Earswick dominated the opening quarter.
Tries came at regular intervals as the depleted hosts failed to halt the All Blacks charge. First their loose forward ghosted through to score under the sticks, before a sweeping move saw their winger finish in the corner.
And when the New Earswick second-rower dived over after exploiting an overlap things looked ominous for the hosts.
But the Black and Golds finally settled into the game and mounted some attacks of their own down the famous Odsal Rec slope.
It wasn’t long until the hosts got over the whitewash. After Nick Champan’s long pass had seen winger Jared Priestley held up just short in the corner, scrum-half Scott Smith dummied his way through the All Blacks defence to score next to the uprights. Luke Dawson added the extras.
Odsal continued to pressure the York side’s line and it was no surprise when they added to their tally.
This time a flowing move down the right edge saw centre Robert Priestley squeeze in at the corner under pressure from the All Blacks winger. Dawson missed the conversion from the touchline.
As half-time approached the home side looked certain to add to their tally when Chapman burst through on a great angled run, only to stumble over with the whitewash in sight.
As a result the home side went into the interval still trailing by two tries and knowing the visitors would have the slope in their favour in the second stanza.
However, as is usually the case for Odsal, they improved massively up the slope and dominated the second period, punishing the All Blacks defence with repeated attacks.
Oliver Priestley got the ball rolling, in what was an impressive personal performance. The speedy winger was on the end of a last tackle power play to race in at the corner.
And it wasn’t long before he doubled his try tally. Once again a flowing move down the right saw brother Robert pop an over the top pass to Oliver Priestley and he made no mistake as he raced down the touchline and in for a score.
Sedge showed no signs of tiring and captain Joshua Tordoff led by example with a barnstorming run that saw him make good yards, but he was hauled in by the scrambling New Earswick defence.
Hooker Shaquille Jones continued to probe around the ruck, making yards with incisive scoots on several occasions.
On the back of his work Sedge marched up field and a neat set move near the New Earswick line saw full-back Sam Greenwood cut through untouched to bring Sedge within six points.
The momentum was certainly with Odsal but New Earswick showed they aren’t second in the table for no reason, pinning Sedge in their own half with a clever kicking game.
The pressure eventually told when a penalty in a tackle allowed the visitors to kick a simple penalty to complete the scoring and seal a narrow victory.
Odsal are back in action on Saturday when they travel to fellow divisional strugglers King Cross Park as they aim to make a strong finish in the re-structured Championship Division One West.