THERE are times during a season that a team has to be content with an ‘ugly’ win – and although YM did manage to score six tries, the coaching staff will probably consider this was indeed one of those occasions.
Playing host to the bottom club in the division, the expectation, at least by the supporters, was of a far easier ride on the way to another points bonanza.
But the South Yorkshire club clearly had no intentions of rolling over and gave just as good as they got, although it has to be said their scoring success was more down to the YM’s generosity rather than their own adventure.
The home side’s tackling, especially down the flanks, was weak to say the least, and it was the visitors who were first on the board, as YM’s defence let them down within the first five minutes.
Fly-half Ed Barber had ‘talked’ himself into the sin-bin in the second minute after sending Adam Ryder away for what should have been the opening score with a forward pass.
Barnsley quickly hit back through winger Greg Colbridge who brushed aside his young opposite number Tom Bullock to score in the corner.
That served as a rude awakening for the Laund Hill team whose forwards began to take up the ball with some determination, and desperate Barnsley defence led them to conceding a penalty in front of the posts and Matt Johnson, resuming the kicking duties in the absence of injured Gavin Stead, converted the three points.
YM’s first try came through simple passing down the line with centre Ryder slipping a pass out to Lloyd Bentley, who went over near the right corner, Johnson adding the conversion from just inside the touchline.
Johnson then added a second penalty after Barnsley centre Andrew Appleyard was yellow-carded and when Ryder powered his way through the defence, following a delightful inside pass from the now restored Barber, at the mid-point of the first half, it seemed that a runaway victory was on the cards.
However, Patrick Jensen cut the gap with a penalty for the visitors and then his left winger Joe Taylor skinned Stuart Morton as he raced down the touchline to put his side right back in the contest with their second try on 28 minutes.
Three minutes before the break, Barber made a good break before off-loading to the supporting Ryder, who used skipper Mark Whitehead as a foil and crossed for his second try, Johnson failing with the conversion.
But just as the home crowd were looking at a 23-13 half-time lead, Barnsley launched another attack down the right touchline, and when Tom Sharrock mis-timed his tackle, scrum half Ben Wilson continued the run to go over in the corner and cut the gap to just five points at the break.
And worse was to follow, as from the second half re-start, YM’s Darren Neilly spilled the kick-off which led to pressure on their own line, and Barnsley’s second rower and captain David Reed, who was their stand-out player, plunged over from close range, which with Jensen’s conversion took the visitors back in front.
Realising they were now in a game YM stepped up their efforts, and after the forwards put together a powerful rolling maul, Whitehead was on hand to get the touch down and restore the lead with Johnson’s second conversion.
Greg Robertson replaced Neilly in the second row before Barber latched onto a Whitehead break to bag his side’s fifth try and put daylight between the sides once more.
Fab Leone-Mazza came on for Sam Hodge at flanker with 20 minutes remaining, and five minutes later Whitehead was again in the right place at the right time as Ryder broke clear, and his attempted pass was knocked forward by a Barnsley defender, right into the clutches of YM’s top try-scorer who was clearly delighted at notching another brace of tries to add to his already bulging tally of 32.
Barnsley were still not finished however, and after yet another shocking piece of tackling, lock Ed Norris went over for the visitors’ fifth try to end the game.
YM have plenty of scoring potential, which they again proved, and it was a win with a bonus point.
But the tackling, or rather lack of it, must give the coaches some concern for next week at North Ribblesdale.
YMCA: Johnson, Morton, Ryder, Bentley, Bullock, Barber, Wilson; Ste Dyke, Hill, Stu Dyke, Bell, Neilly, Hodge, Sharrock, Whitehead. Interchange (all used): Robertson, Leone-Mazza, Smith.
Referee: Mike Ramsden (North Yorkshire).