Triumph & Woe For Yorkshire

A double game weekend in the middle of the county season brought an ultimate contrast of fortunes for Yorkshire’s senior sides. In terms of results, the scores seemed to reflect the weather which could hardly have served up more different consecutive days.

Sunday brought blue skies, sunshine and a temperature which was considerably warmer than the previous week. What better then than a trip into the Yorkshire Dales, to Grassington and the home of Wharfeside Rugby Club? This was the venue for Yorkshire Women’s second fixture of their campaign, the opponents being Cumbria. 

For reasons not entirely clear, Yorkshire had already secured their place in the championship semi-finals despite having only played (and won) a single game previously. This was therefore deemed to be a ‘development’ game, giving several previously untried players an opportunity to show their strengths. As a result, no fewer than nine clubs were represented in the day’s squad; something of a record for the county.

First half try for Yorkshire

Cumbria began well, keeping possession for the opening skirmishes, passing well and occupying the home side’s 22. Playing into the sun and up the slope, Yorkshire looked to be having a tough time at the outset. When they finally broke out, however, it was at speed and with a penetration which the visitor’s attack had lacked.

Another try from a long run

Unfortunately I have no names and I cannot find a match report. Suffice it to say that an opening try for Yorkshire became a precursor for several more scores before half time. These came from runs down both wings and through the centre, putting the white rose comfortably ahead by half time.

Second half try

It was a little more difficult photographing into the sun during the second forty but the home scoring continued. It has to be said though, Cumbria did not give in and fully deserved their try towards the end of the game. The final score was 36-8. Yorkshire now look forward to a semi-final with the old foe, Lancashire, at Leigh Rugby Club, next Sunday afternoon. Never an easy fixture. During the time I’ve been photographing their matches, it’s 2-2 (2015 Yorkshire, 2016 & 2017 Lancashire, 2018 Yorkshire) so it’s a little decider next weekend! You can see more pictures from the game in the ickledot shop.

The men’s game against Cheshire, a day earlier, was played in fairly awful conditions; high wind, bitterly cold with torrential rain for an hour before and the first 30 minutes or so of the match itself. The venue was Huddersfield YMCA Rugby Club, a new one for ickledot. The pitch was in excellent condition and there was a good crowd in attendance despite the weather.

Yorkshire began well enough, eventually opening the scoring with a try down the left through Lewis Minikin. Cheshire were clearly a strong side though, particularly in the forwards, and they began to exert a pressure of their own. This brought a try and several penalty points to give the visitors a slender lead at half time (I think). 

A first half try for Lewis Minikin

During the second half I lost track of the score and no longer had a clear view of the scoreboard. Cheshire managed second and third tries which I thought put them well ahead. When Yorkshire finally broke through for a converted try they were actually only a point behind. Despite much further effort in the closing minutes, this is how the score remained, 20-21 to Cheshire. 

A sad ending for the home crowd and now there is little at stake for Yorkshire’s last fixture of the campaign which, as with the women, is against Lancashire at Fylde Rugby Club on Saturday. So there is something to play for! The two sides haven’t met in the competition for the last few seasons. I think the last time I photographed them was at Scarborough in 2014. If I recall rightly, they did play each other the following year (I was with the women’s team) but not after that. A welcome return for the Roses encounter. You can see more pictures from the game with Cheshire here.

Eyes On: Yorkshire captain, Joe Graham