Basic mistakes and an horrendous penalty count cost YMCA dearly in their first home game in National III North as they were beaten 46-26 by Firwood Waterloo.
The young YMCA side are still coming to terms with the pace of the game at the higher level and the referees are quick to punish with the Laund Hill side giving away nine penalties in the first half and had player-coach Mark Whitehead sent sent to the bin as a consequence.
Despite all their shortcomings YMCA were still in the game 28-26 deep into the second half, but 18 unanswered points by the visitors in the last 10 minutes saw off the late YM rally.
YM were behind almost straight from the kick-off as they allowed Waterloo to regain the ball and force a penalty which they duly converted.
The home team responded quickly stretching the Waterloo defence first left the right before powerful new centre Dalby made a tremendous break, the ball was recycled left for Adam Ryder to send Tom Bullock flying into the corner for the try. Gavin Stead converted from the touchline.
Another mistake from the restart allowed Waterloo to press forward and from a line-out the visitors powered over for a converted try.
Despite being on the back foot YM did create chances when stand off Tom Wood made half breaks only for sloppy handling to let the home side down.
As the penalty count mounted the YM were forced onto the defensive and eventually the visitors extended their lead when smart handling sent in the Waterloo full back wide out. The conversion was missed but the visitors increased their lead shortly afterwards when once again a catch and drive from near the YM line resulted in a converted try.
The final 10 minutes of the first half saw the YM on the offensive with the home forwards taking on their opponents with a series of drives taking them deep into the visitors territory.
Good defence by Waterloo kept the YM at bay but eventually the pressure told.
Led by the impressive second row pairing of James Bell and Jack Housley, the forwards drove to the visitors line and when the ball was released to the backs Ryder rounded his man to score in the corner. Stead missed the conversion to leave the score at 22-12 at half-time.
YM started the second period with purpose putting Waterloo under pressure forcing the visitors to defend and kick out of defence only for stand in full back Stead to run the ball back to set up the next YM attack.
The home front row, Moor, Hill and Slater, were now getting on top of their opposite numbers and the resultant ball possession was forcing the visitors to defend.
YM were not to be denied however as Bell made another break downfield and passed to the supporting Whitehead, the No8 drew the last line of defence before sending the supporting Simon Wilson under the posts for a try which Stead converted.
Once again the YM failed to retain the restart which allowed Waterloo the ball into the YM half and the home side’s discipline once again let them down as two straight forward penalties increased the visitors advantage to nine points.
On 67 minutes the visitors were then reduced to 14 men when their scrum half was sent off for a tip tackle on home full back Stead after one of his powerful bursts down field.
The line-out from the resultant penalty was driven over the Waterloo line for No8 Whitehead to touch down. Stead converted to make the score 28-26 and give the home team a valuable bonus point.
There followed 10 minutes the YM might want to forget as they once again failed to secure the ball from the restart which gifted the visitors possession close to the YM line.
Inevitably Waterloo scored after a series of powerful drives.
Further salt was rubbed into the wound as they scored 13 more points, a try, conversion, penalty and drop goal.
The YM can draw some positives out of the game as except for the final 10 minutes they were in contention against a team that will obviously be in the shake up for honours at the end of the season.
YM: Bentley, Stead, Ryder, Dalby, Bullock, Wood, Wilson, Slater, Hill, Moor, Bell. Housley, Dyke Stu, Hodge, Whitehead. Subs(all used) Willans, Van Rooyen, Knightingale.