If last week was a bit of a disappointment in that it yielded not a single game of rugby, this one was a delight: a triple header! Saturday brought two games in Doncaster and on Sunday it was over the hill to Ilkley for a third. Three different tiers of Yorkshire rugby as well, each bringing its own photographic highlights.
I've written before of Anthony Posa, coach of Doncaster Phoenix Rugby Club and Yorkshire U20s. It was he who arranged permissions to photograph Saturday's first game: Doncaster Knights against Jersey Rugby Club. A break from the league programme, these two Championship sides were up against each other in the British and Irish Cup competition. As Knights' communications manager Michael Casey correctly forecasted in his conversation with me before the game, this was a close encounter, the lead switching several times over the course of the game. It was finally settled with a Jersey try in the closing minutes. As Michael also foretold, opportunities for open play were few and set pieces predominated. You can read a more detailed report on the match here.
Phoenix's game, played an an adjacent pitch just outside the main stadium, provided something of a complete contrast. Already well on course for a second promotion at the top of their league, Phoenix completely overwhelmed opponents Westoe, scoring more than 100 points; amassing in excess of a dozen tries in the process.
For ickledot it was a hugely enjoyable afternoon which presented an unusual challenge: not only being in the right place at the right time but also being at the right match! The Knights kicked off at 2pm while Phoenix's game began at 2.15. The first 30 minutes spent behind the try line which Knights were attacking yielded no close action shots, nor did the last ten minutes shooting from the 22 yard line. After the next twenty minutes or so watching Phoenix, there was a roar from the stadium as Knights scored what proved to be their only try.
What to do? In the end I decided to go back and watch Knights' final twenty minutes in the hope that they'd have an attacking spell or two and I'd get a few close shots. It didn't quite happen. Sometimes good pictures don't come in the way one expects; while Knights action shots were scarce, a number of pre-match coaching images and some player portraits were very pleasing. You can see pictures from Knights' game here and Phoenix's here. Big thanks to Anthony, Michael and all at Doncaster Knights/Phoenix for a fantastic afternoon.
Yorkshire U20 were in action again on Sunday during their pre-season programme. This time they were playing a Leeds University Freshers side. As previously reported, Yorkshire suffered quite a heavy defeat in their first run out against Wharfedale Foresters. Their second game was much more positive; a win with several tries being scored in each half. Still much to improve with the first game proper coming in only two weeks against Northumberland. Moving in the right direction though. More pictures here.
Have a great week!