Unusually there was no rugby on Saturday due to the big freeze. Some leagues were having a weekend winter break anyway but fixtures that had been arranged fell foul of the plunging temperature. Last resorts were scrubbed out as first Hull Ionians and then Bradford & Bingley Seconds failed pitch inspections, the latter with teams already changed and warming up (pun intended). Safety first though and ickledot was content with an afternoon in front of the TV, particularly with a famous England victory in a Six Nations opener against Ireland.
Sunday brought live rugby though, on Keighley Rugby Club’s increasingly famous all-weather pitch, in the shape of a Roses clash between the Under 16 squads of the two counties. The future’s certainly bright if both can produce not only one but two high quality teams.
So there were two games, played one after the other. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any official match reports and I was certainly unfamiliar with the names of any players involved. In the first it was Lancashire who came out of the traps the fastest, scoring a couple of tries without reply from their hosts. At that point it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for the white rose county.
Though there was something of a recovery for Yorkshire, Lancashire still led at the break. However, it was a different story in the second half and it was the home side which seized the initiative. A nice mix of running rugby and forward pressure brought rewards with a score from a solo run and another from a maul. With few minutes remaining Yorkshire had crawled into the lead before Lancashire pulled the score back to 19 all.
One last forward push on the left brought a winning try for Yorkshire, just when many of the considerable number of spectators had begun to expect the draw. Last minute joy for Yorkshire and huge disappointment for Lancashire; such are the cruelties of sport.
The second match was something of a contrast to the previous close encounter. This time it was Yorkshire who began the strongest, scoring the all important early first try from a run down the left. This was followed by more scores and by half time the hosts had a healthy lead.
This continued throughout the second half and although Lancashire were able to put points on the board, Yorkshire’s scoring spree continued. Have to admit, I didn’t take a photo of the final scoreboard but the match ended something like 42-13. Don’t quote me on that. Managed to grab a few words with the Yorkshire coaching staff at the end of proceedings and they assured me that both of the afternoon’s Yorkshire teams were more or less equal and that the differing final scorelines were merely down to the first being not quite so successful in displaying their skills and moves on the day.
Still, a most successful afternoon for the boys of Yorkshire. Congratulations to both sides on providing some excellent rugby. You can see more images from the game over in the ickledot shop.