York Men's 1s won their third game in a row with victory against 3rd placed Leeds Beckett 3s in the rugby union Northern 2B division.
The game had a shaky start, with both sides committing errors, Leeds came close in the opening minutes, but York had been slightly better of the two sides in the first 10. The home side had a chance to get the opening points of the game 11 minutes in, Leeds being caught with an offside around 40 yards out, however the kick was missed. York seemed to be struggling when near scoring position and this showed again in the 14th minute, after an over 20 phase play was ruined when the ball was fumbled around five yards out.
It seemed like it may never be York’s day but the finally got on the scoreboard, capitalising on a poor Leeds knock on, Tom Buttall being able to score straight from the corresponding scrum, the kick was converted for 7-0. The reason York were getting chance after chance was because Leeds had really struggled to push into the York half in the first half hour, always stalling at around the half way line. However, after the half hour mark, Leeds were able to push on and were able to score in the corner after 33 minutes, scoring in the corner after being encamped in the York half for around five minutes before, the kick was converted to level the scoring. The tide seemed to be turning against York at this point, a player getting sin binned for a high tackle, the referee mentioned after the game that he had repeated this offense multiple times.
If Leeds thought they would be able to push on from this though, they were mistaken, just two minutes later, the half ended with York getting on the scoreboard. Caswell Sparks breaking through the line very well at about halfway, dodging several defenders to finish off a great solo try, but the kick was missed which left the scoreline reading 12-7 at the half-way mark.
The second half almost started as the first half had finished, York were stopped on the goal line however before being able to score. Two minutes later and York were back over, finishing a strong play with a fast break down the right, into the corner. The kick was again missed to make the score 17-7. York were again over the for another try ten minutes after that, however it was disallowed by the referee. York kept pushing though, they had been dominant for most of the game and the score was starting to show it, Nat Abery pushing over the try line to extend the score, a harsh tackle on Abery instigated a fight, starting from the Leeds players, clearly upset at their dismal performance, surprisingly none of the three Leeds players who threw punches and aimed and necks and heads were sin-binned, however a York player was sin-binned for trying to break up the fight, the referee said this was because he was a sub who unnecessarily came on the pitch.
If the refereeing was questionable on the sin bin, the next try was outright ridiculous, Leeds getting a penalty try around the half way line, seemingly for nothing. The York bench was dismayed to the point of confusion. The referee refused to comment and the score was now 22-14. The game was soon over though as York got two more penalties, converted to make the score 28-14 which was how the game ended.
One York player told me that the score wasn’t representative of the game, and that they could have and perhaps should have won by a lot more. Putting home allegiances aside, telling the absolute truth, York were by far the better side and deserved to win by a much bigger margin, setting a good early precedent for their Roses fixture in May.