Sherburn Bears v Wortley Dragons 21/11/15
Sherburn faced Leeds outfit Wortley Dragons on Saturday a side they comprehensively beat last season home and away, however with both sides dropping a league albeit for different reasons it was a case of another day another deal, judging from their results and position in the table Wortley had clearly improved from last season, and the Bears were sporting a new look this year with a team packed full of 16, 17 & 18 year olds, so the outcome of this game should in theory be far less one sided than both the games last season.
The game started with Wortley full of fire determined to make an impression and a Bears side that looked like they were going through the motions and not hitting anywhere near the heights that did the previous week against a good Drighlington side, this despite the warning from Coach’s Kev Jordan and Lewis Booth not to underestimate the Dragons based on last season’s results as this would be a new side who had racked up some decent results this year already.
Worley’s big pack ran hard in the early part of the game with strong work from their number 10 and number 4 moving them up the middle of the park, however they never really got on top as stern defence in the middle of the field led by returning loose forward Ronnie Roebuck and Captain Ray Boyes ensured the Bears were always in control , it wouldn’t take long for Sherburn to get off the mark with power packed second row forward Jake Scales blasting his way over just 5 minutes into the game following a beautiful cut out pass from Roebuck, no conversion on what proved to be a poor day with the boot for the home side, but still they were 4 points to the good.
As is often the case in these type of matches an early score was exactly what the doctor didn’t order as Sherburn guessing this was going to be a case of how many they would score immediately took their foot of the gas. Much credit must go to the visitors as they stepped up to prove that they were quite capable to take advantage of any opportunities offered to them and a couple of dropouts followed by a couple of penalties saw them score their first points as a lovely face pass saw the Wortley number three hit a hole at pace 10 metres from the line, juggling with the ball and just bringing it in before he hit the ground for an excellent opening try, the conversion was duly added and the visitors took the lead with just 8 minutes gone.
Sherburn awoke from their slumber for a quick 15 minute spell to rattle up 3 more scores, first Roebuck showed excellent strength and footwork after dummying the defence and beating 4 men to the line, scrum half Rob Culshaw added the extras to take the score to 10-6. Next up substitute forward Nico Deville showed his outstanding strength as he broke his way through 3 would be tacklers before steam rollering the fullback to crash over at the side of the sticks, Culshaw again added the extras to put the Bears 16-6 up with 20 minutes gone. Still the Bears weren’t finished and this time Culshaw delivered a sweet pass after taking the line on to put young 17 year old winger Josh Johnson across for his first open age score, no conversion this time but the Bears now had a commanding lead of 20-6 with 25 minutes gone.
Wortley though refused to go quietly and threatened on a number of occasions on their left hand side with their centre and wing combination proving lively, only good defence from Culshaw and Boyes helping out Jordan Richards and winger Johnson kept the visitors out. Sherburn weathered a period of pressure from the visitors with Sam Booth, Scales, hooker Jaffa Johnson and Roebuck all prominent in defence. Sherburn then showed their attacking prowess as they broke from their own half after great carries from forwards Kev Dalton, Nico Deville and Martin Jackson set the platform, the ball was shipped from left to right with Booth and Culshaw all handling before full back Ben Pugh raced away to score, again no conversion but the Bears increased their lead to 24-6.
Sherburn continued to turn the screw another score through powerhouse Deville who barged his way over from close to the line, this time Richards took over the kicking duties and added the extras to take the half time score to 30-6. The team talk from Kev Jordan and Lewis Booth was all about keeping composure and not letting Wortley of the hook, with the coaches words ringing in their ears the Bears took to the field and posted more points within minutes as Culshaw stepped and shimmied his way to the line for the opening score of the second half, again no conversion but Sherburn seemed to be out of sight now at 34-6.
Another young winger in Dom Romans was also impressing on the Bears right hand side with some brilliant fielding of the ball on the kick returns and some strong defence, however he would be at the centre of the next incident in the match as he suffered a horrific high tackle from Worley’s number 6 who compounded the offence by attempting to get a couple of cheap shots in on the 16 year old while he was on the ground trying to recover, this incensed the rest of the Sherburn players and a 26 man scuffle ensued, after the situation had calmed down Worley’s number 6 and a Bears player were despatched to the bin for 10 minutes before the referee mystifyingly awarded the penalty to the visitors. This proved to wind the team up even more and saw a series of big hits fly in from the home side dislodging the ball on only the third tackle, however the die was now cast and the next 10 to 15 minutes of the match saw Sherburn slip bad to some bad old ways as they set their stall out to smash any Wortley player caught with the ball whilst trying to trample over the top of any Dragons player who attempted a tackle.
A quick intervention from the coaches saw the Bears reminded that they were there to play rugby and to get on with the game, with tempers finally calmed normal service was resumed as tries 8 and 9 were scored, first centre Jordan showed his blistering pace by burning 3 of Worley’s back line on a 50 metre dash to the line, the conversion was added by Culshaw to put the home side 40-6 up with 67 minutes gone, the final score came from Culshaw who again showed his excellent footwork as he bamboozled the defence to score his second try, winger Johnson added the conversion to put the Bears well clear at 46-6. Disappointingly the final score of the game would be to the visitors following a quick tap penalty, the first of the game, 5 metres from the Bears line, conversion added the score would finish at 46-12 with the referee blowing fulltime a good 6 minutes or so early.
Best for the Bears on the day was JP Plant Hire man of the match Jacob Scales the block busting centre come back rower was at his devastating best in attack and defence with a series of uncompromising carries and eye watering tackles. Second place went to Roebuck who again continued his excellent form this season with some sublime touches with the ball and some bone crunching defence. Third place went to young winger Romans who had far and away his best game in a Bears shirt and will take some shifting off this wing with this type of performance. Supporter’s man of the match went to Captain Ray Boyes whose strong carries and excellent work rate in defence did much to keep the Bears on top. The top tackler award also went to Boyes with stand-off Booth a close second.