Receives The Pass Forcing AheadGreetings! Two matches photographed again this weekend, in quite contrasting conditions climate wise, although that didn't appear to affect the scoring as points piled up in both. As you'll notice from the pictures, the venue was the same on Saturday and Sunday: the home of Ilkley Rugby Club. On Saturday it was Ilkley themselves playing against Driffield. The conditions were cold and overcast; virtually dark from the start and most certainly dark by the time it finished, even though it was only around four o'clock. a curious game in that, although Ilkley emerged as clear winners by more than thirty points, it didn't look as if Driffield were overwhelmed. They had a good deal of possession, spent time in the opposition's half, yet were not able to convert  their handling into points. Ilkley, on the other hand, were quick on the break, especially down the wings, and Driffield were not able to cope with the pace.

On Sunday Yorkshire Under 20s Development Squad played a fifteen from Leeds University. Although still bitterly cold, the cloud had faded and much of the match was played in bright sunshine.By coincidence the referee was our old friend Tom the Hooker from West Park Leeds (remember his lineout a couple of posts ago?). The county team scored first after only a few minutes of play and kept up the pressure throughout. This bodes well for the future as many of these players will qualify at this age group for a couple of seasons. Although the University recovered well in the second half, the county still managed to notch up a half century of points.

Including a couple of my favourite shots here, both from the latter game. They illustrate well two of rugby's main contrasting facets: balance with speed and brute force. In the first the player receiving the ball almost resembles a dancer in the middle of a pirouette. You can see that he's about to set off on a burst up the wing. The second illustrates the other way to make progress - with sheer strength. You could perhaps argue that one looks more aesthetically pleasing and athletic, but they are both equally effective.