HUDDERSFIELD YMCA Colts provided one bright ray of sunshine for the Laund Hill club when they romped to a brilliant victory over Keighley to win the Yorkshire Under 19 Plate at the County ground in Harrogate.
Despite the wet and muddy conditions at Claro Road, there were very few handling errors and YM showed no signs of nerves as they recycled possession with great regularity, which combined with the tactical kicking of man-of-the-match Anthony Senior meant Keighley were seldom out of their own half.
And gradually YM’s strength and tactical awareness began to take effect and prolific scorer Adam Ryder scored a classic winger’s try to get the scoreboard moving, and Stephen Dyke then claimed a second touchdown from a rolling maul with Gavin Stead knocking over one conversion for a 12-0 lead at the break.
In the second half, YM made a couple of early changes, Stuart Dyke coming on at prop for Ben Dickens, while Liam Orton-Blue replaced Jack Housley and the increased weight and intensity of the scrummaging enabled hooker James Bell to take the ball against the head, almost at will, which enabled him to also test his kicking skills!
Shortly after coming on, Stuart Dyke found himself back off the field and in the sin-bin alongside one of the Keighley forwards with whom he’d had a disagreement.
Up against constant pressure, it was only a matter of time before Keighley’s resistance cracked however and YM began to run in try after try (nine in all) as their superior strength and technique told, and at point towards the end, YM’s pack set off on a 40-metre rolling maul.
All 22 of the squad were introduced at some point of the game, but even with the host of changes, it never disrupted YM’s flow as they brought the season to a tremendous conclusion, finally running out winners 57-0.
Ryder crossed for yet another hat trick of tries (putting his season’s tally into the 30s), while talented scrum half Josh Marshall went over the whitewash twice, others coming from Stephen Dyke, William Sellers, Tom Butterfield and Anthony Senior, with Gavin Stead adding six conversions.
The squad take a well-earned break this weekend, when they head to Newcastle for an end-of-season tour.
YMCA (with replacements): Ben Dickens (Stuart Dyke), James Bell, Stephen Dyke; Jack Housley (Liam Orton-Blue), Jack Willans (Alexei Orton-Blue), Sam Hodge, William Sellers, Fraser Carrington (Josh Lumb), Josh Marshall, Anthony Senior, Adam Ryder, Josh Wrafter (Tom Butterfield), Gavin Stead, Sam Hopkins (James Roberts), Dominic Walsh (Ben Emsley). Travelling sub: Tom Stafford.
YMCA’s Under 13s proved much too strong for Cleckheaton, winning 63-5 at Salendine Nook.
Scrum half Sam Wood picked up from an early scrum and ran it in at the far corner for the opening try of the contest, and from that point on it was all YMCA.
Cleckheaton tried to find a gap in YM’s line but found it too hard to get through apart from one instance in the second half.
The hard work in training seems to be paying off as all the sets plays, rucks and mauls went YM’s way and with excellent support play it quickly became very much one-sided as the home side ran in try after try, although to their credit, the visitors did cross once after mounting a good attack.