A DEPLETED YMCA team produced a spirited performance to earn a crucial point from an 11-11 draw with against Yarnbury at Laund Hill and, but for a somewhat ill-judged call by referee Mitchell, the home side would have registered only their fourth win of the campaign.
Indeed, YM were denied two scores in the second half, and on both occasions the luckless player was young winger Danny Moorhouse who saw his first effort ruled out by an alleged forward pass, and was then adjudged not to have grounded the ball over the line.
Both incidents came within six minutes of each other, and although the second was perhaps questionable, his first ‘no score’ in the 58th minute was harsh in the extreme, coming as it did at the end of a superb passage of play.
Without five first team regulars, YMCA looked set for a difficult afternoon, but a couple of early breaks from stand-in scrum half Josh Marshall and a bustling effort from prop Martyn Dalton and centre Dave Wood, showed the replacements were not going to let anyone down.
Neither side were able to string much together in the opening 20 minutes, with Mr Mitchell’s whistle stopping any flow. In fact, there were a staggering 23 penalties awarded in the first half (13 in favour of the YM and 10 to the visitors) – and 32 in all – in what was a keenly-contested, but otherwise cleanly-fought game!
YM skipper Jamie Marsden – having one of his best matches of the season – broke the deadlock on 23 minutes with a penalty goal, only for Yarnbury to be awarded one at the other end, exactly one minute later, which full-back Simon Tabb converted.
With a much bigger pack, Yarnbury began to exert pressure through a series of rolling mauls, and although YM’s tackling was whole-hearted, it was obvious that eventually the defensive line would crack, and so it did when the visitors’ big No8 Ian Moule crashed over from close range to give his side an 8-3 lead.
YM’s defence then hung on brilliantly as Yarnbury piled on the pressure as the referee managed to find an extra 11 minutes from somewhere in what was probably the longest first-half of rugby I’ve ever seen!
From the re-start Marsden attempted a drop goal which spewed into the trees off his boot, but his ill-fated attempt seemed to spur the skipper on, and it was through his fine break two minutes later that YM drew level.
The No10 scythed through a hole in the middle of the park, and after the attack was carried through several pairs of hands, the ball was finally worked to YM’s top try-scorer Adam Ryder, who worked a one-two with Neil Walker before crossing in the corner for his 12th of the season.
Back came Yarnbury and the next 10 minutes were spent camped out inside YM’s 22, during which time William Sellars replaced Dalton at prop.
The visitors actually breached YM’s line again, but knocked on while attempting to touch down before Tabb missed a penalty attempt.
Just before the hour mark came Moorhouse’s first effort, when Walker burst down the left flank, drew his man perfectly before off-loading to the young winger, who turned his opposite number inside out and then cut away down the wing for what everyone (including a couple of Yarnbury’s defenders) thought was a tremendous try, only to find Mr Mitchell had from some distance away, blown up for a forward pass.
Within six minutes the same player was over again, this time following a lightning break from Simon Wilson, who seemed to revel in his new role of full-back. But when Moorhouse tried to step inside to make sure he wasn’t tackled into touch, the defenders wrapped him up and the ‘try’ was turned down.
Insult was added to injury when Tabb added a second penalty to put Yarnbury ahead, but with five minutes remaining, Marsden was given the chance to level it, which he did with his second three-pointer to ensure honours ended even.
YMCA: Wilson; Ryder, Morton, Wood, Moorhouse; Marsden, Marshall; Dyke (Stu), Whittaker, Dalton (Sellars 51), Hellawell, Torrance, Leonne-Mazza, Nyahoda (Hodge 64), Walker.
Yarnbury: Tabb, Gomersal, Avison, Smith, Threlfall, Bartless, Cashman, Butterfield, Reynolds, Pike, Hunter, Maycock, Barrett, Johson-Laird, Moule.
Referee: S Mitchell (East Yorkshire).