Bears triumph in local derby
Sherburn win against depleted Storm
Sherburn Bears v Swillington Storm 9/1/16
Sherburn welcomed Swillington Storm to Eversley Park on Saturday afternoon on a cold and blustery January day, with the pitch fairly heavy underfoot after the recent rainfall the game seemed as if it would probably be more suited to Swillingtons heavy pack and may stifle some of Sherburns fast style of attacking rugby, still there was much anticipation to this local match with Swillington reforming after a few years lay off, both teams sport a number of players from the Castleford and Pontefract areas so there was local bragging rights on the line which always gives the players a bit of extra incentive in there types of games.
The game started at a good pace with both sides showing good touches early in the opening minutes, set completion was good from both teams and Swillington coming down the slope were making good metres when taking the ball forwards. The arm wrestle lasted a good 10 minutes until the Bears broke the deadlock with young hooker Connor Jordan spotting a gap and weaving his way over the line from 20 metres out for a great individual try, converting his own score to put the home side 6-0 up with 10 minutes gone. It wouldn’t take Swillington long to strike back though as the Bears spilled the kick off and the Storm shifted the ball to their left edge where they found centre Johnny Brummiti lurking out wide, he showed his class with some great footwork and strength to get across the line, no conversion but the game was back on at 6-4 with just 13 minutes gone.
The Bears started to lift the intensity of the game as they settled into their stride, fast play the balls were the order of the day and the Bears ball carriers were starting to make good metres now against a Swillington defence that was still back peddling, again young Jordan would take advantage to scamper across for a second try from dummy half again showing great strength and agility with lots to do from 15 metres out, Jordan added the extras once more to put the home side back in the driving seat at 12-4. Sherburn started to take control of the ruck speed now with great defence on show from Lewis Booth, Sam Booth, Jordan, Jacob Scales, Dec Lewis and Captain Ray Boyes stifling Swillingtons attack, meanwhile fast play the balls and strong carries from Johnboy Fenwick, Kev Dalton, Ronnie Roebuck and Bryn Watson saw Sherburn making good metres with ball in hand, however it was Swillington who would strike against the run of play when a misplaced Crossfield kick saw Swillington winger Paul Barber race 95 metres for a try at the side of the posts, duly converted by halfback Craig Wallis to keep the Storm in the match with 25 minutes gone.
This though signalled the onset of a Bears try spree as they upped the speed of the game another notch, with the game being well marshalled by referee Gareth Billingham the Bears were allowed to play the game at a good speed and this proved to be too much for many of the Swillington players, as they started to flag the gaps started to appear, Coach Kev Jordan moved the versatile Jaffa Johnson into the hooker position and it made an immediate impact against a tiring Swillington defence, dancing and skipping out of tackles he made metres at will and teased the visitors defence with the ball, following this good approach work a neat short ball from Sam to brother Lewis saw him bulldozer his way through the visitors defence and crash over from 15 metres out with 30 minutes gone, no conversion but a score of 16-10. Sherburn sensed blood now and pressed home their advantage with loose forward Ronnie Roebuck showing his strength to crash over the line again after good work from Johnson, again no conversion so the score stood at 20-10. Still the Bears weren’t finished and rounded of the half time hooter with a final score from fleet footed centre Jordan Richards after good hands and neat short passes from several players saw him dive over in the corner, no conversion saw the half time score at 24-10.
Coach Kev Jordan was pleased with his charges at half time but disappointed that we had conceded two scores especially with one of the being fairly soft, an increase in intensity was required with no let-up of pressure to potentially give the visitors a foothold in the game. With the coaches words ringing in their ears the Bears took to the field and started where they left off with an early score to fullback Ben Pugh who scored a great try from distance weaving his way through the defence from 40 metres out, no conversion but 28-10 with 5 minutes of the second half gone. Swillington to their credit though proved they were not a bad side and forced their way back into the arm wrestle, good work from their hooker Andy Morris who ran his blood to water as well as their classy centre Brummitti was backed up by halfback Craig Wallis who appeared to have more tricks up his sleeve than Paul Daniels, the game became a bit of a stop start affair as niggle started to develop on both sides however this came to a head 25 minutes in as a 26 man scuffle saw a player from each side sent to the sin bin for a cooling off. This tactic from the official seemed to work well and the game resumed as before, Sherburn started to take advantage of the extra space afforded by the missing man and soon produced their 7th score with scrum half Rob Culshaw who had his best game in a Bears shirt to date, although the less said about his goal kicking the better!
Try converted by Richards the score now stood at 34-10 and there was no way back for a Swillington team that looked beat already with heads dropping, Sherburn though carried on with the job in hand adding a further score from winger dan bottomley whose strong returns of the ball were one of the features of the Bears second half, he dived over out wide following a sweet pass from Sam Booth, no conversion saw the score at 38-10. The final 10 minutes of the game saw the Bears have 4 more tries ruled out 3 for forward passes and another for failing to ground the ball, they would add to their tally though with Richards scooping his second after hacking the ball on and grounding it behind the sticks, Culshaw finally managed a conversion to save his blushes and give the game a final score of 44-10 to Sherburn.
Best for the Bears on the day was JP Plant Hire man of the match Sam Booth, the dynamic stand off again showed his class in attack and defence, at the heart of all the Bears best attacking rugby as well as leading the charge with some brutal contact in defence, second place went to block busting centre Jacob Scales who continued his fine form this season with another all action display with devastating carries and massive hits in defence an everyday feature of his play, third place went to dancing footed Kev Dalton who must surely have the beat footwork of any forward in the lower divisions of the Pennine league, his work rate with and without the ball being simply phenomenal. Supporter’s man of the match went to winger Bottomley who again had a standout game as he looks to have the best season on record for the club. Top tackler was Sam Booth with 37 tackles. Sherburn will face another stiff test this Saturday as they look to visit second placed East Leeds next Saturday with a 2pm ko.