Houghton retain County Vase in hard fought encounter.
By Ryan Pink
The number eight linked with James Ross who crashed over to score allowing Houghton to take the lead 10-8.
The game was kicked off some three minutes earlier, which seemed not only to catch the fans out but the players too. As the side-lines were a waiting the referees whistle, Yarm began to attack down the opposite flank. A short tap by the flyhalf was collected and spread wide to the lively Yarm Centre. Luckily enough for Houghton Ben King
was on hand and a good tackle forced the player into touch.
Houghton cleared the immediate danger but Yarm came straight back from the resulting lineout. A good catch and drive by the pack, was followed by numerous short but powerful pick and goes. Until eventually the pressure seen them awarded a penalty to take the lead within the first five minutes.
The score spurred Houghton into action and a good restart by David Bains
was taken well by Yarm. The follow up tackle was made by Craig Hicks
who managed to stay on he's feet to jackal the ball for a penalty. Captain matt marchant
opted for posts, Bains seemed to have sliced the kick wide, only for the ball to swirl back into the far post and rebound, Yarm cleared.
The next peace of play was straight from the training field. A catch and drive lineout from the forwards seen Houghton push into the Yarm twenty two. Bains released Jack Sneezham
who drew in the defence and put James Ross
into the gap. The powerful centre was halted five metres before the try line. Forward pod work by matt marchant
and Craig Hicks
, seen Yarm's defence stretched before flanker Glen Atkinson
drove around the corner to crash over.
The next ten minutes was a real Cup final with both teams defensives cancelling any attacking play out. Yarm did look the most likely to score as Houghton's penalty count was creeping up, although unclear signalling from the referee made it hard to understand the reasoning. Houghton settled down and enjoyed the best spell of the first half. Forward carries by matt marchant
, Allan Widdowfield
and Man of the Match Newton Turton
took the play into the Yarm half. David Bains
opted for a chip to the corner and when it looked as though the kick would be poor. A lucky bounce seem Ryan Graham
apply pressure to the Yarm fullback. The young winger looked set to win the foot race, but the greasy ball evaded the grounding of the player.
A short twenty two restart was taken by the Yarm flyhalf again, as players were caught sleeping. However a good counter ruck by the pack seen the ball turned over. Glen Atkinson
was on hand to carry the ball forward, the player was tackled hard but the referee adjudged illegally and awarded the penalty which was missed by Bains.
Yarm had the final say of the half when both sides started to play the aerial game. The Yarm flyhalf kicked deep and when it looked like they were on to score Ben King
came from nowhere to pick up the ball. Unfortunately the pacey winger ran out of space and options as the Yarm defence pursued him. A wild pass seen Houghton under pressure before Yarm retrieved the ball. They pack built a steady platform before the centre went straight through a gap to score. H/T 5-8David Bains
started the second half with a good kick which was pressured by replacement Chris Watson
. Openside flanker Adam Reay
was on hand to reclaim the spillage and Houghton began to attack. A Bains pass was carried forward by Newton Turton
taking out three would be defenders. The next phase seen Jack Sneezham
stopped short before a wild Bains pass was kicked dead by Allan Widdowfield
Houghton now with their tails up, were beginning to move forward. Further breaks by James Ross
and Turton seen them progress, until a clever kick to the corner by Sneezham applied pressure to Yarm.
Just as Houghton were getting a foothold on the game the heavens opened and a ten minute flurry of rain seen the ball turn into a bar of soap. Any attack from either side resulted in mistake after mistake and a lot of scrums awarded. This seen the pace of the game drop and suited the Yarm style of play. It wasn't long before the coaching staff decided to ring the changes bringing on Danny Bradley
, Andrew Crossley and Alex Harland.
Bradley and young flyhalf Harland made and immediate impact lifting the pace of the game and disrupting the ball cleanly. This allowed the new centre partnership of Ross and Sneezham to make better inroads into the Yarm midfield. Player coach Ryan Pink
was introduced shortly for flanker Adam Reay
. The seasoned backrow was again an immediate impact putting the Houghton pack on the front foot with some powerful drives.
The next try came courtesy of some good build up play. Bradley linked with captain matt marchant
, who in turn popped a pass to Pink out the back door. The ball was carried by Pink who smashed the Yarm centre and set up a quick ruck. Glen Atkinson
was on hand to seal the ball and Newton Turton
burst around the corner catching Yarm napping. The number eight linked with James Ross
who crashed over to score allowing Houghton to take the lead 10-8.
Houghton were nearly caught napping themselves as Yarm ran straight back and a brilliant cover tackle by Harland brought down he's opposite number. Flank Pink was on hand to latch over the ball, giving the referee no option but to blow for a penalty.
Sneezham tapped and went quick pushing deep in Yarm territory. A long pass by Bradley to Widdowfield, allowed the player to power to through the defence. The final pass from the secondrower was not read by winger Ben King
and the move was halted.
A Yarm mistake at the scrum seen Pink retrieve the ball. It was to no surprise the experienced backrow set up the driving maul, which allowed the clock to count down before the referee blew the final whistle, Houghton winning 10-8
Man of the Match Newton Turton