A dull, cold, dank afternoon at Humber Doucy Lane hosted a game of rugby as grey as the weather; the YM ran out winners, further cementing their table-top position and extending their 100% record, but the price they paid in an increased injury list was a very high one. Soon after the start Ollie Howard badly dislocated a thumb and with ten minutes to go Tom Coulter damaged an ankle. Both will be missing from the starting line-up for many weeks. Adam Sawyer also appeared to be carrying an injury.
In the end, with only 13 fit men on the field, the YM were hanging on, defending the substantial lead they had built up earlier in the match, but now powerless to stop the Magpies’ resurgence, the hosts scoring two tries in the final ten minutes to make the final score too close for comfort for the visitors.
In the forward battle the YM were always on top; their pack, smaller but stronger in the set-piece and more organised, in control and penetrative in the loose, made many hard yards, while the collective YM defence prevented the Magpies from crossing the gain line at all for long periods of the first half. All the YM’s five tries came from the forwards, rapid recycling, strong driving and close control got the ball over the Magpies’ line and on the ground in every case, with the scorer, buried under a mountain of bodies, often difficult to identify.
For the Magpies an interception and a 70-metre run gave them an opening try, keeping the score level for a few minutes; later a sustained period of Magpies pressure in the second half led to a further try, but until the YM faded the hosts were living on limited possession and territory.