York Acorn 20 Featherstone Lions 12
Red Cards Galore with Rushworth to the fore.
The start of the National Conference First Division season certainly got off to an explosive start as 5 red cards and 2 yellow cards were dished out as York Acorn upset the supposed form book when beating visiting Featherstone Lions 20 - 12 .
The flurry of red cards didn't materialise until the 70th minute when all he'll broke loose following a flare up close to the Acorn dug outs and touchline.
Several players got involved in fighting and when the dust had settled 2 players from each side were given their marching orders with Acorns two red cardees being winger Josh Thompson and second rower Matthew Woods.
Then on 75 minutes Acorn were reduced to 10 men when Acorns MOTM second rower Reece Rushworth was sent off for retaliation, when he allegedly kicked his opposite number Joe Fox when he was on the floor.
That incident robbed Acorn of what would have been a sensational try by winger Matty Downes who from in front of his own posts proceeded to bludgeon his way through the Featherstone defence and then race 70M to score a memorable try under the posts.
Unfortunately back on the half way line another melee erupted, this time started when it appeared that Featherstones Fox tripped Rushworth and then appeared to clamp his bicep around Rushworths throat.
When he broke free and got to his feet he allegedly kicked the player on the ground.
The initial provocation had been missed by the officials due to them following Downes breathtaking break.
The try was disallowed and Rushworth was sent off still gasping for air whilst
Fox went unpunished.
Prior to these incidents Featherstone had seen two of their players dispatched to the sin bin on two separate occasions during the first half.
As for the rugby itself, Acorn came out of the blocks like Usain Bolt, when they took the lead within the first 2 minutes.
Combination play involving a Tim Elliott Kick & regather , a woods offload and a smart finish by prolific centre Ryan Gallacher to which Anthony Chilton added a conversion saw Acorn move into a 6 - 0 lead.
Acorn moved further in front on 17 minutes, when the influential Anthony Chilton produced another quality kick behind the Featherstone try line and Tom Hill playing in an accustomed prop role never gave up and just touched down before the ball went dead.
Chilton put Acorn 12 - 0 in front by adding his customary conversion.
On 23 minutes Acorn stretched their lead to 16 - 0 when they managed to find acres of space on the Featherstone right hand side defence and left centre Jordan Potter gleefully stormed over for an unconverted try.
On the half hour mark, Featherstone hit back when their stand off Tom Wandless punched a hole in the Acorn defence to score from 30 yards out.
Full back Ian Jackson added the conversion to put the visitors back in the game at 16 - 6 down.
Crucially Acorn edged further in front on 35 minutes when scrum half Tim Elliott produced the money ball that cut out 3 players and sent Matty Downes over perfectly in the corner for an unconverted try to give the hosts a commanding 20 - 6 lead at the interval.
The second half was defence dominated with only one further score being registered, when on 68 minutes Featherstone cut Acorns defecit to 20 - 12 after a period of sustained pressure resulted in a try for second rower Fox which Wandless added the conversion to.
After the shenanigans Acorn were indebted to their scrambling defence and in particular Downes, Potter, Hill, Pryce and Harris for denying the visitors a crucial score.
Rushworth deservedly took the MOTM award, but he received excellent support from the in form Anthony Chilton who along with scrum half Tim Elliott bossed the game for Acorn, while Tom Hill might just have found a new role at prop after giving his best display for a long time.
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