Last week, the men’s University of York rugby union first XV beat Lancaster 24-12. The seconds and thirds had both lost narrowly but the victory today means that rugby union made a positive contribution to the overall Roses effort. In the women’s games both firsts and second won convincingly.
The men’s first team game was a tense and often cagey encounter. The Lancaster players emerged onto the pitch through a tunnel of their supporters. The atmosphere, however, was nervous and the first period was somewhat subdued as the teams tried to settle into the game.
Lancaster fumbled the kick-off and conceded an early penalty to York, duly converted by fly-half Matthew Barton. York were dominant in the early period but failed to convert a second kick at goal. A kick through by Barton intended for left wing Alex Renwick almost lead to a York try. Renwick collided with a Lancaster player and in the ensuing scuffle, both parties were shown a yellow card. Despite this York took advantage of their field position and scored through Charlie Dransfield, converted by Barton, giving York a ten-point lead.
Lancaster then applied pressure. York conceded a series of penalties and Lancaster were rewarded for not taking three points with a try from a well executed maul off the lineout. York defended stoically, ensuring that they retained a 10-5 lead into half time.
The visitors continued to keep the pressure on and York were given a second yellow for a ruck infringement near their own line. After an attritional few minutes, York were able to put some phases together and won a penalty which they kicked to the corner. This decision was vindicated by another try, impressively converted by Barton.
York now seemed more comfortable and after line breaks from Toby Gaskell and Pierre Goualin, York took the score to 24-5 with a well worked try. Some late pressure from Lancaster yielded another score for the away team from the last play of the game. York supporters rushed onto the pitch and surrounded the York players.
On Saturday, both thirds and seconds lost games having dominated early on, the seconds by the narrowest of margins, 30-31. The score went back and forth throughout but a high penalty count eventually cost York. The thirds squandered a 10-0 lead early in the first half to lose 23-17. The women’s games saw a successful debut for the second team at Roses with a 48-0 win. The firsts won convincingly 41-0, controlling possession and limiting Lancaster to very few opportunities.
Overall, Roses 2017 was a mixed affair for the rugby union club. Whilst the men’s and the women’s team were convincing, the defeat for the two other means teams was disappointing. Overall, however, it contributed a net gain of 5 points to the Roses total and so can be considered a fruitful endeavour.