Yate RFC welcomed Cleve RFC 3s for their first visit to YOSC with Yate looking to complete a double over them having beaten them earlier in the season. The side put out by Yate RFC was solid but with a few noticeable absences that would normally start.
From the kick off Yate got immediately in their stride and with the ball in his hands for the first time, Craig Archer broke through several attempted tackles and ran from his own half to go in under the post. An easy conversion by James Cannon so an early 7 nil lead within 2 minutes of kick off. Cleve looked rattled but quickly responded. The first scrum of the game in Yate’s 22 saw the pack retreat at a tremendous rate and looked like a penalty would be award to Cleve but surprisingly to all involved the penalty was given to Yate. Was it an early shove or some other misdemeanour? We are unsure but it didn’t bode well if they kept putting us in scrums. After clearing from the penalty Cleve again started to attack and Ben Hayman, as he did in the previous fixture, broke through several tackles to score. Having not learned from his comments in the last game he again shouted that Yate were nothing and there for the taking. Comments he would again live to regret. The score back level at 7 a piece Yate started to respond and the game ebbed and flowed with chances for both sides which for the sake of a better pass or decision would have seen scores. Yate were award a penalty for an infringement at a ruck decided they needed to accumulate points and James Cannon stepped up and put the kick over from 35 metres out off the left hand upright. Yate now 10 – 7 up tried to add to the score but as with the start of the half, some minor errors were preventing any score.
At half time, coach Martin Moorhouse, who tells me he had a good game (tells me that every week even when he isn’t playing) told the players they just needed to keep playing the systems they have trained with. Everything was going ok except scoring points. The scrum which at the first one looked fragile never went back again, line outs whilst poor were not costing us points and the back line were looking dangerous when in possession. The most pleasing aspect of the half was forwards working as pods and running on and taking the ball at pace.
Early in to the second half after another infringement gave Yate a penalty. Again we took the decision to kick for points and James Cannon again fired it over. A simple enough penalty but a historic one in the club history as he became the first player to 200 points. Now leading 13 – 7 we started to try to dominate and club Chairman Stewart Stacey, now settled into a back row position, took the ball at pace from a ruck, broke through the defence and realised he had 30 metres to run. If we could have had a camera to record his face and the look of horror but he outpaced the Cleve defenders and went in under the post. A simple conversion for James Cannon and we had a bit of breathing space at 20 – 7. Cleve continued to be competitive without really applying any pressure. From a chip over the midfield by Cleve’s young fly half, who deserved better for his display, and some fumbling on the ground the ball ended up in fullback Liam Summerville’s hands who, as he can’t kick to save his life, decided to run it out. He beat the outside centre and drew the next player and gave a pass to half time replacement Jack Dutton just outside his 22. Jack then went on a solo run beating several Cleve players and scored a try started in Yate’s 22. We are so used to other clubs doing this to us so it was good to see us inflecting this on another team for once. James Cannon again kept 100% kicking record and clear daylight at 27 -7. Yate continued to keep on the pressure and the skipper Neil Olive decided he needed to get in on the act. Having disappointingly missed the previous fixture against his old club due to injury you could see he wanted to show them he can still produce the goods. From just inside the Cleve 10 metre line he took the ball, again from a pod at the back of a ruck and charged off. He beat all around him and scored a try which was again converted by James Cannon. Now 34 -7 up Yate appeared to take their foot off the gas. Cleve given a sniff sent the ball out to the right wing and despite a valiant effort from Gary Cornish, who tackled like a demon all game, the winger got the ball down. A missed conversion from out wide and game sitting at 34 – 14. Yate again went back on the offensive and another forward running hard onto the ball produced results as Neil Lavelle, now released to play rugby by his girlfriend, stormed through Cleve players to score. James Cannon, reliable as ever, slotted the conversion. With time running out a strange decision on the field taken by Yate when a penalty was award nearly 45 metres out when they indicated the post. Was this an effort to show how good James Cannon was on the day as the ball sailed through the post to make it 44 -14. With time running out Cleve scored again and it was testament to their effort on the day as they continued to make a game of it. However as had been the theme most of the game the try came out wide as battering down the middle was failing to break yate’s solid defence. A missed conversion which hit the post and bounced out, followed closely by the full time whistle to see a well-deserved 44-19 victory.
This was an all-around solid team performance and you could see the difference the coaching of Martin Moorhouse is making (Did you hear he had a good game?). Good structures, solid defence and forwards starting to run on to the ball. MOM had several players mentioned, the coach got a couple of votes, Neil Lavelle and James Cannon also had some but for his overall play, a fancy sidestep worthy of any fly half and some storming runs the vote went to Jordan Hawker. DOD went to the coach who must remember there is a skipper on the field.