Burley vs Thirsk Away Game 17/09/2022

Burley vs Thirsk Away Game 17/09/2022

By Emily Johnson
18 September 2022
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Thirsk respond to previous disappointing display on the road…..


MATCH REPORT 17/09/2022

Thirsk mens 1st XV made the trip to Burley in week 3 of the season, keen to put right a disappointing performance away to Knottingley last week. The team were in a buoyant mood despite what seems to be an ever increasing injury list taking its toll on selection. Never the less the 20 players selected on paper looked to have the right mix of ability and guile required. This proved to be the case, coming home after a solid 80 minutes of Rugby with a bonus point away win against an arguably a better team than last weeks opponents Knottingley.
Thirsk started brightly and playing down the notorious Burley slope knew they needed to get points on the board first half, as the home side would come at them hard in the second half with the slope in their favour. Thirsk had the lions share of procession for the first 30 minutes keeping Burley pinned in their own half for long periods. Thirsk failed to take the first points as two early penalty kicks were missed from the normal metronomic boot of Joseph Scatchard, but Thirsk seemed unfazed and kept the pressure on Burley.
The home side had intermittent procession through the first half, predominantly due to Thirsk’s frustratingly high penalty count. With 30 minutes of the first half gone, Thirsk’s persistence bore fruit as after pushing Burley from left to right and back again across the pitch, flanker Angus Ramsay found a defensive mismatch 10 metres out, brushed off a flailing Burley front rower and crashed over centrally for the first try and points of the game. The conversation was hit by Scatchard. Thirsk led by 0-7.
Thirsk fielded the restart well and quickly notched up their second try after a well placed chip over the top cross field from Alex Shepherd (10) found Lock Dan Rayner loitering on the wing, accepting the invitation to run and made a 30 metre canter down the wing. Then offloading to supporting wing Jamie Greenop, stopped 10 metres short by the home sides covering defence. Thirsk recycled the ball quickly from the ruck, before Matt Brown at scum half picked out prop Matt Mason on an unstoppable hard line. Tight to the breakdown he crashed over for another 5 points. Again the conversation was slotted home, ending the half with Thirsk leading 0-14.
Now playing up the slope and the positive but pragmatic words of the coaches ringing in their ears (about keeping procession and cutting out the silly penalties), Thirsk received the ball kicked deep into the bottom corner of the pitch from the restart. Burley as predicted came out of the blocks hard keen to pin Thirsk in their own half. The procession for the first 10 minutes of the half was pretty even, although Burley had the advantage of field position.
Thirsk lost Prop Jack Newman to a neck injury, weakening there scrum but they continued to worked hard and dragged the play up the slope and into Burley’s 22 metres. Thirsk then shot themselves in the foot! Backchat to referee saw Lock and replacement prop for Newman , Chris(Boz) Borwell take a yellow card. This gave the home side a lift as Thirsk were temporarily in disarray. Now down to 14 men and a second prop down, Captain Nathan Brown did what he does best and immediately stepped up to give propping a go, rather than be reduced to 13 and go uncontested in the scrum!
Burley now with their tails up capitalised on Thirsk giving away “another” penalty in the middle of the field went quickly before Thirsk could reorganise and ran in a try from 40 metres. Dually converting the extras, with the score 7-14 from the restart, Burley kicked deep putting Thirsk back in their own half and defending hard. With the scrum under pressure, Thirsk were digging deep and hanging on.
Thirsk seemed to have lost the referee and the majority of the 50/50 decisions were firmly going with the home side. Burley continued to load the pressure on Thirsk defence but Thirsk continued to frustrate them by holding them out. Burley were awarded “another” penalty in a central position just inside Thirsk’s 22 metre. Either frustrated, out of ideas or confident, they would have the opportunity to score again. Burley opted to kick it and pull the deficit 3 points nearer to 10-14.
Thirsk continued to give themselves an up hill task mentally as well as physically. Matt Brown (scrum half) was given a yellow card for off side after creeping round the scrum for a second time. Burley continued to kick themselves down field to gain field procession but the kicks were now becoming inaccurate and Thirsk capitalised! They ran the ball back up field to great success, taking advantage of Burleys broken field defence and keeping valuable procession.
Then the game took what can only be described a bizarre turn as Thirsk’s flanker Danny “George” Thompson was judged by the referee to have been reckless whilst charging down a clearance Kick, catching the Burley 10 which can only be described as very faintly in the face with a hand. Thirsk were now down to 13 men with 3 minutes still to go and on the yellow card for their 9. The feeling of injustice somehow galvanised the remain 13 players who grabbed each other by the scruff of their necks and carried the ball up field for upward of 15 phases deep into Burleys 22. Twice turning down a penalty kick option in favour of tap penalties for their forwards to carry hard testing Burleys resolve in defence. Before a nicely worked move from a ruck exposed 2 on 1 on the short side, Ramsay putting Centre Callum Scott Conder in for an unapposed score in the corner - the conversion was missed!
With the score 10-19 and Thirsk back to 14 men Thirsk kicked on again and within 4 minutes through similar tactics found themselves back in Burleys “red zone”. This time it was Matt Brown (fresh from his 10 minute forced touch line break) that found the gap in the Burley defence around the ruck. He snipped through shrugging off the attentions of a couple of Burley defenders to go over for Thirsk fourth and importantly, bonus point try 10 metres right of the uprights. Scatchard added the extras with only minutes left of the game Thirsk led 26-10 and looked home and hosed, but also running on empty!
Once again Burley kicked deep and put Thirsk firmly back on the defensive in their 22 metre with only minutes to play. Burley moved the ball around quickly and efficiently looking to find the gap in Thirsk 14 man defence, and with the last play of the game, found space on the edge of Thirsk (stretched and tiring defence) squeezing in for a try. Closing the final score by 5 point to 15-26.
Thirsk Coaches man of the match was Matt Brown, after kept the forwards firing on the front foot all game mixed with level headed distribution , consistent all game and integral to the first second half try and score the last try himself.
Next week Thirsk are on the road again, travelling Osset RUFC who sit just below Thirsk in the league table.
Thanks to sponsors - JT Atkinson Builders Merchant (Thirsk), Codbeck Blenders, PureChem & Carlton Miniott Service Station

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