Pocklington took another big step towards the Yorkshire One title when
they ground out a hard earned home win over third placed Bridlington.
In some games this season, Pocklington have blown the opposition away
with high tempo running rugby. In others it has needed an arm wrestle
to come out on top of determined opposition; and Saturday was all about
endeavour and pressure as for Bridlington, the division's previous
long-term leaders, it was a must win encounter.
Pocklington dominated territory and the set pieces, spending 70 of the
80 minutes on the attack. But the tension of the occasion and
Bridlington's strong tackling meant the home side were seldom able to
break the defensive shackles. Nevertheless, they always looked in
control and ended deserved winners to now lead the table by eight points with two games to go.
Flanker Jack Holbrough, who had flown back early from France to play,
snaffled an early turnover and fly half Joe Holbrough drilled a couple
of long touchfinders twoards the corner to get Pocklington onto the
offensive. They set up camp in Bridlington territory and fullback Nick
Bennett banged over a tenth monute penalty to give them an early lead.
With Pocklington having a clear set piece advantage they looked to get
the ball moving but determined Brid tackles and Pock penalties at the
breakdown enabled the visitors to clear their line.
Bridlington then broke upfield where the home forwards were again
penalised at the tackle and Bridlington kicked a 40 yard penalty to
level the scores. Pocklington's forwards quickly restated their
dominance by driving the Bridlington eight back at the next two scrums
but another rare foothold in the home half saw Bridlington kick another
towering long range penalty to surprisingly lead by three points.
Pocklington gave signs of finding an attacking rhythm and after strong
runs from Bennett, Tim Nixon and Dan Pickard, Bennett saw a penalty
attempt slide just wide. Skipper Mat Webber led a bout of offloards and
centre Jake Bishop made a twisting 30 yard break when a deflected kick
fell into his path, but Pocklington were unlucky when the pack took
over to drive to the line in the left corner. Lock Chris Hyde was
certain he had got the touchdown but the referee was unsighted and gave
a scrum which Bridlington somehow stole to clear.
The home forwards quickly took their side back and the interval whistle
came with Pocklington again camped on the attack.
If it had never quite come together for Pocklington in the first half,
everything promptly clicked within a minute of the restart. They won a
scrum 25 yards out and with the Bridlington defence targetting the home
midfield, fly half Joe Holbrough made another of his languid, arcing
runs to carve through to side of the posts, Bennett converting for 12-3
Bishop was almost clear when he caught a kick ahead, then Nixon and
Jack Holbrough battered strongly up the middle, but more good
Bridlington tackling and further needless Pock penalties stopped the
momentum. They were soon back and after Ben Rees and Pickard had probed
blind, Jack Holbrough was driven over under a pile of pack bodies.
After a long wait to see who came up with the ball, the try was finally
At 15-3 with only 15 minutes to go the game looked just about safe. But
Pocklington failed to take the teasing kick off, and a series of
ricochets ended with Bridlington going clear under the posts for a
shock converted try.
That closed to gap to just two points and put the result back in the
melting pot. Pocklington resumed the offensive and laid seige to the
Bridlington line in the closing stages. From a series of five yard
scrums Pock were stopped just short on half a dozen occasions by
determined Bridlington defence, with centre Nixon going the closest.
But Pocklington kept battering blind and scrummaging strongly to ensure
Bridlington were pinned on their line to the end to make sure of a