Rugby Roses Sport

Men power York to sevens sweep

In a positive omen ahead of tomorrow's XVs encounters, York men's rugby completed a clean sweep of the preliminary sevens fixtures. (Thumbnail credit Photo: Alexandru Hristea)

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In what must surely serve as a positive omen ahead of tomorrow's XVs encounters, York men's rugby completed a clean sweep of the preliminary sevens fixtures.

In blustery conditions on the 22 Acres, York were rewarded for their desire to keep possession and move the ball away from the contact area, emerging comfortable victors in all three matches to claim a maximum of four points for the overall total.

The action got underway with the Third VIIs and, after a somewhat scrappy first-half, a solo effort from Pete Tarrega was enough to give York a slender 5-0 advantage. The home side began to show more composure after the break, their organised defensive line prevented Lancaster from gaining any sort of continuity, and pulled clear through scores from Ryan Johnston and Michael Ager before Tarrega grabbed a second to seal a 24-0 win.

York's momentum continued in to the Seconds contest, with Richard Bremner scoring to put the hosts into the lead in the opening seconds. However, the Lancastrians would not roll over so easily this time and, after a string of penalties saw York pinned deep in their own territory, a perfectly weighted grubber kick was gathered over the line to level the scores at 5-5.

York's hopes rested in the balance on the stroke of half-time as sloppy ball from a ruck was seized upon by Lancaster's hooker, who found himself in the clear, only to be denied by a superb cover tackle from Rory McGregor. The intervention not only saved a certain score, but forced a holding-on penalty from which Tim Walker raced away to put the White Rose 10-5 to the good at the midway point. With the wind knocked out of the visitors sails somewhat, York began to pile on the pressure and the towering figure of Lionel Owusu strolled in from close range before McGregor got himself on the score sheet, giving York a 22-5 triumph.

Roared on by a sizeable crowd, York once again took an early lead in the Firsts' match courtesy of Gryff Jones going in under the posts for a score he then converted. A shell-shocked Lancaster side were then caught napping at a scrum, with Tom Bugge's break up the blindside putting the hosts 12-0 up. York were passing the ball about confidently, adapting their game more successfully to the sevens format and when Bugge added a second score immediately after half-time a large score was potentially on the cards.

Lancaster had other ideas, gradually managed to gain a foothold in the match and their pressure eventually paid dividends as they crossed twice in quick succession to claw the score back to 19-10. Crucially, the away side could not convert either score meaning York were never in real danger of letting their lead slip away, and they made sure they had the last word when Jones floated a long pass out wide to Ollie Tilney who put the result beyond doubt at 24-10.

Whilst not hiding his obvious satisfaction at the performances put in by all three York outfits, Captain Mike Callis stressed the need to re-focus on the challenge of the fifteen a side clashes tomorrow: "Today's performances are a good omen for tomorrow, we have the sharpness we need. But tomorrow's the big one, to lose that would be a disaster". With six valuable points on offer for the victors, York will not be taking anything for granted but must draw confidence from a convincing effort from the entire squad this afternoon.

(This is all rugby 7s footage, including women in the second part).

Credits for YSTV: Iain Cooke

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