Yarnbury Rifles v Harrogate
match report by Joe Stafford
Yarnbury proving to be a fortress for the Rifles!
After Steve Riley’s last minute drop goal to clinch victory against league leaders Morley last week, Yarnbury 3rds arrived in good confidence for their match against Harrogate Pirates who were 2nd in the league going into the fixture.
A changed outfit saw Steve Riley bumped up to 2nds after his heroic display in the week prior, however scrum-half Joe Stafford and ‘versatile’ forward Adam Kenvyn returned from 2nds duty as well as, Callum Haywood, Ben Sessions and Baden Parker joining the pack in addition to a couple of new faces in the backs.
It would be Yarnbury to receive the kick off and after a thunderous boot from the Pirates no.10 aided by a lack of communication, a knock on was forced which invited early pressure from the opposition. After a few errors from Harrogate, they began to string a few phases together which resulted in them distributing the ball wide allowing their winger to score in the corner; it was a well worked try however the conversion was missed - it was clear unless Yarnbury switched on it could be a long day at the office.
This try didn’t deter no.8 Ben Sessions however, who looked to be a man possessed refusing to be tackled; this ferocious running saw him break numerous tackles allowing him to offload to no9 Stafford just inside of the Yarnbury 22 who was then able to make a break to the other end of the pitch and score under the posts, the conversion was cooly slotted by Pete McCarthy.
However soon after Yarnbury’s try the Pirates were able to make a break as a result of some good footwork from the Harrogate halfbacks and score however again the conversion was missed.
The Pirates began to pile yet more pressure on the home side however after some brilliant counter rucking, Yarnbury were able to regain the ball and a thunderous boot, which may or may not have been aided by the gale force winds, from fullback Jack Mog helped give Yarnbury some excellent field position on virtually Harrogate’s tryline and were soon awarded a penalty on the stroke of halftime. McCarthy stepped up to slot the kick home meaning the teams went into the break at 10-10.
After a quick turnaround with a few changes to the side and eager to maintain their momentum from the latter of the first half, Yarnbury used their strong forward runners including Sessions and Kenvyn who both managed to pick two spectacular lines to crash over and give Yarnbury a further 14 points as both conversions were kicked by Tom ‘Harold’ Daniels in McCarthy’s absence. Despite this, the Pirates came back and also scored a couple of tries however once more the kicks were missed.
24 - 20
Wanting to put the game to the bed and secure the points Yarnbury surged forward once more and as a result of an acrobatic finish from fly-half ‘Harold’, Yarnbury scored in the corner; however the kick from the touch line was missed.
Nonetheless Harrogate were keen to stay in the match and keep it a tight contest so after some heavy running from their forwards, were awarded a penalty; the scrum half took a quick tap and managed to evade defenders to score but yet again the kick was missed.
The final 10mins saw Yarnbury camped on their try line, desperately trying to wade off the oncoming attack. Some huge hits and electric line speed meant that the home side were able to cling on and gain the win.
Despite not being one of the most skilful or structured games the side had played this season, the match displayed true Yarnbury grit and determination and again helped the 3rds climb up towards the top of the table who were now just 1 point of the top spot.
FT = 29-25, Yarnbury
Tries = Stafford, Sessions, Kenvyn, Daniels
MOTM = James Barber