Uttoxeter v Yardley and District
Yardley started against a more resilient looking Uttoxeter side who were determined to make amends for last weeks performance against Wolverhampton. They welcomed the return of Matt Nance at open side flanker and Rob Armett started in the front row with Tommy Sherratt making his league debut and the two stalwarts of Chris Owen at scrum half and Andy Gagie on the wing.
In the first 5 mins Steve Harris kicked the ball straight into touch from a clearance when trying to find touch in the corner which brought the ball back to the half way for a Yardley put in. Uttoxeter were then penalised for going into contact too quickly and Yardley were awarded a penalty which full back Danny Bancroft took full advantage to put the visitors 0 – 3 up.
Uttoxeter repeated the same offence only for the Yardley full back to miss from half way but in front of the posts. Yardley were then forcing the issue and only a knock on saved Uttoxeter from going down to a try.
Some hard yards were won by the back row of Uttoxeter with Tom Lampitt charging through the Yardley defence, the ball popped out to debutant Tom Sherratt who somehow managed to break through a tackle and put the ball to James Gill. Gill went on a magnificent run to score in the corner and make the score 5 – 3. Steve Harris missed the conversion from a difficult angle.
The Yardley front row were taking control of the scrums with their experienced front row of Griffiths, Vale and Moss bossing the contact area. In addition they appeared to be adopting the same tactics as Wolverhampton last week with the heavier forwards trying to knock a hole through the centre. This week, howeveer, Uttoxeter showed their metal. James Williams led from the front as skipper for the day, in the absence of Mike Davies, by defying the size difference as he put a series of great tackles on the Yardley forwards.
Although Yardley were winning the scrums, Uttoxeter were equally dominant in the line out and it was from a steal by Ryan Batthew that set up a great move. He shipped to Millward who in turn put a great long kick into the Yardley 22 metres, only good play from Yardley fullback Bancroft sent the ball to the half way line for a Uttoxeter throw. The throw was then won by Scragg only for Yardley being penalised not releasing right in the tackle on the halfway line. Steve Harris made no mistake to put the home side up 8 - 3
Uttoxeter were unlucky not to get another try by some great support from Gill who just knocked on when in sight of the try line. The team were performing much better around the tackle area as some big hits by Batthew, Nance , Scragg, Lampitt and the hard working Carr stopped the Yardley forwards from progressing. Another forcefull move by second rower Batthew gave possession to Lampitt who dragged three players with him as he forced his way forward only for the ball to be turned over by Yardley.
Steve Harris missed another penalty just inside the Yardley half as James Williams took a knock and was replaced by James Holmes just on 37 mins.
Half time Uttoxeter 8 – Yardley 3
Yardley started to put some real pressure on the home side with some superb scrimmaging as they continued to dominate and push the home side off the ball even on their own put in. They were following this with a strategy of kicks over the Uttoxeter defence. This tactic didnt work though as it played into the hands of the speedy backs with Harris, Gagie and Sherratt running the ball back with interest.
A great ball won by Owen was passed to Millward who threw a miss pass to Sherratt who slipped the ball inside to Gill who burst through the Yardley defence with devastating effect in the 50th min, he took on no fewer than 4 players and outsprinted the cover as well to score a superb try for his 2nd of the game. Harris converted Uttoxeter 15 Yardley 3.
Uttoxeter were now winning the majority of the ball and some great handling and distribution by Owen and Millward allowed the backs to showcase their speedy runs.
A penalty for not releasing again gave Harris another chance which he took, adding the three points from just inside the Yardley half.
18 – 3.
Uttoxeter broke free again and Tom Sherratt nearly added to the score and then straight after Jim Holmes knocked on just a s a score seemed inevitable taking a pass from Matt Nance.
Rob Armett was replaced by Josh Allen as the front row came under constant pressure. A finger injury to Matt Nance slowed play down and then with 10 mins to go Rob Scragg was replaced by Ollie Nance.
Just after this the Yardley hooker Vale was sent to the sin bin for taking the law into his own hands as he “shoed” a Uttoxeter player off the ball.
Tim Carr saw what can only be described as red mist as he chased a ball from Chris Owen from an offside position when Paul Millward was charging through to score a certain try. The young second row player realised his mistake and immediately gave recognition for the error.
Even though Yardley were down to 14 players they continued to press and were rewarded with a fine individual try by Jason Griffiths who evaded a tackle by Sherratt and then chipped over the cover to gather up the ball in full flight to score by the posts. Full back Bancroft added the extra points Uttoxeter 18 - Yardley 10.
The game continued to be hard fought with Uttoxeter taking the points for their first points of the season.
Full Time 18 – 10.
Sponsors for the day DWM Installations nominated Tim Carr as man of the match for his fantastic contribution on the field and the Captains man of the match was James Gill for two brilliantly taken tries and being a constant danger to the Yardley defence.