Wath-upon-Dearne 13


(Yorkshire I)

YMCA came away second best in a bruising encounter at Moor Lane and will rue the missed opportunities.

Those failings cost them dearly as their lead at the top of Yorkshire I was reduced to just one point, and the visitors were immediately put on the defensive with the Wath forwards determined to drive the ball forward at every opportunity.

They pinned YM back in their own half for the first 15 minutes of the match during which full-back Tom Quinn took advantage of some YM indiscipline with two well-taken penalties.

Things brightened up for YMCA when, after a spell of pressure in the Wath ‘22’, skipper Mark Whitehead went close only for the ball to come out to Ed Barber who managed to get the touchdown close to the posts. Stead added the conversion to give YM a slender lead.

Quinn missed a third penalty shot as the game became nip and tuck as half-time approached, and although the YM were now winning their share of possession they were not being careful with the ball and continually allowed it to be turned over at the tackle.

The visitors were awarded a penalty which was taken quickly by Whitehead, who was immediately felled by Wath scrum half Bartlett, but as the ball went loose, it was collected on the ground by a Wath player only for YM’s Damian Clayton to go into tackle the man knees first.

The result was that Bartlett received a yellow card for his actions and then the original penalty was reversed against Clayton, who was also yellow carded.

The visitors started to exert some pressure and a couple of opportunities were missed before the ball moved up into Wath territory from where it was whipped out to Stead on the wing, allowing him to show his pace to score.

It looked as though the YM were going to get the better of the game as they dominated more of the play in midfield, but mistakes continued to thwart them.

Wath were far from out of it and as the game crept towards the final whistle they came back to press the YM hard for lengthy periods, forcing the visitors into defence by using the big forwards as a battering ram to make slow but steady progress towards the line.

The momentum was now with Wath and they were determined not to let the game slip.

As the time ticked away it appeared that the YM might just hang on, but the referee took issue with the defence and after awarding a couple of penalties for offside he lost patience and awarded a penalty try.

Quinn’s conversion sailed between the uprights, the referee blew his whistle for full time and Wath had earned a one-point victory.

YMCA: Johnson; Bentley, Stead, Ryder, Barber; Clayton, Wilson; Dyke (Steve), Hill, Neilly, Bell, Dyke (Stuart), Sharrock, Hodge, Whitehead. Interchange: Housley (Jack), Housley (Sam), Wrafter.