A mix of local and county last weekend in the season which blissfully seems to have no end. On Saturday it was a local derby: Keighley against Bradford & Bingley in a Yorkshire Shield Semi Final. This was followed on Sunday with a coach ride south to Wellingborough Rugby Club where Yorkshire's Women took on East Midlands.
Mid second half on Saturday it seemed the Bees were moving rather than coasting towards victory, with tries from Richard Tafa - great to see him back on form after injury - and Brett Mitchell. However, just as Bees' supporters were beginning to breathe more easily Keighley broke through to touch down in the corner.
So the closing minutes were a tad uncomfortable, especially against a side which had themselves enjoyed a most successful season. The Bees held on though, the end score being 16-20, and are now through to a cup final. You can read a more detailed match report on the Bees website. This really has been a season of resurgence for them following several of disappointment and relegation. They'll face West Leeds (remember Twickenham?) next Sunday at West Park Leeds Rugby Club.
As for the photography, ickledot was quite fortunate. Sticking to the end the Bees were attacking, away from the clubhouse in the second half, with twenty minutes to go ickledot decided to switch.
Always nice to get a few portrait shots as players come off the field but also ickledot wanted to give a bit of coverage to Keighley. They were attacking more strongly and a good deal of action was at this end. Didn't expect them to score though so was really pleased to be on hand to capture it.
Coincidentally, Yorkshire Women had enjoyed their first win at Bradford & Bingley last Sunday. A week later they were playing East Midlands at Wellingborough Rugby Club in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside. It was a warm sunny day, not quite too hot for rugby. You can see and download images from both of these games through the ickledot shop.
Yorkshire began well, scoring three tries in fairly quick succession. East Midlands competed and countered well though, scoring two tries of their own. Former Yorkshire winger Bronagh Doherty was in fine form and a constant worry for Yorkshire defenders.
As the game wore on though, Yorkshire's superiority began to tell and the points tally mounted accordingly. By the close they'd amassed over sixty points - a most convincing win. Readers may remember Yorkshire had a great campaign last season, remaining unbeaten. However it ended with something of an anticlimax as there was no regional stage to progress to. This year it's different though and there's a semi-final next Sunday (ickledot double booked again!) against the red rose of Lancashire, to be played at Barnsley Rugby Club. It's going to be a tougher match but these girls will definitely be up for the contest. Good luck to them.
Again it was a very pleasant afternoon to be photographing - almost too bright at times, particularly with Yorkshire being so bright in white shirts! Some good close shots though, especially in the first half try scoring action.
First there's a mighty mid week game to look forward to in a couple of days: the first leg of the Championship play off final - Doncaster Knights v Bristol. Knights really will have to be up for that one and so will ickledot. Can't wait!