Yorkshire Shield: Brods youngsters rise to task
Old Brodleians powered through to the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Shield with a 26-0 win away to Hullensians on Saturday.
The Hipperholme men had snatched a 25-24 home win over their relegation-threatened rivals in Yorkshire One on February 23 and looked up against it with a much-weakened side on American prop Bennie Pritchett’s wedding day.
However, a team full of youth and numerous players with little or no experience of rugby at this level rose to the task, guided by player-coach Ollie Akroyd in the pack and Phil Town in the back line.
The visitors had the assistance of a gale force wind in the first half and controlled the game from the kick off with a clear game plan, which was delivered with great enthusiasm.
Brods showed their intent in the opening exchanges, gaining good field position and controlling the majority of possession.
The young front row of Pete Ashton, Jack Moger and Joe Sealey made an early impression by shunting their counterparts off the ball at the first scrum and they repeated the exercise regularly throughout the game.
One such scrum after 10 minutes produced great ball for Bradley Martin, who dived over the line from close quarters to open the scoring. Town converted from the touchline.
Brods swiftly extended the lead to 12-0 when Zac Thompson entered the line and stretched the defence with his pace. His excellent arcing run took him to the line.
The Woodhead boys repulsed home attempts to take the initiative with some solid defence and cleared their lines with good kicking by Town and Thompson.
Will Mcloughlin worked overtime in the back row and James Crabtree was dominant in the line out. Cameron Wroot featured strongly in attack and defence but Hullensians must have fancied their chances of turning it round with the elements in their favour.
The visitors showed great intent from the start of the second half, keeping the ball tight to the ruck and maintaining their discipline.
Pete Ashton caught the eye with his repeated carries to maintain the Brods stranglehold on the match. However, the Hull side defended well and from a ruck on their own line their scrum half showed great pace to
break through the Brods defence and clear deep into Brods territory.
Brods now had to show their own defensive qualities and did just that, clearing their lines before working their way back up field with controlled possession play.
With injuries taking their toll, debutants Josh Thaxter, Tom Clee and Harry Wardman entered the fray to provide more energy and enthusiasm to Brods’ controlled rugby.
As play entered the final quarter Thompson received the ball just inside the Hull half, broke a tackle and his quick feet took him clear. He then beat the covering full back for pace and dived over the line for an outstanding try. Town converted again and with a 19-0 scoreline Brods were closing in on an excellent victory.
The home team tried to recover the initiative and Brods had to defend against sustained pressure. In Hullensians’ desperation they sent a loose pass, which was pounced on by Jason Dodd. He and brother James chased the ball and it was James who gathered and ran clear of the defenders to score. Town converted and Brods played out the closing minutes of the game in control.
They are expected to face leaders Moortown in the last four.