The blue and golds came through this potential banana skin and showed character in what was a tense game for almost 70 minutes.
The narrow pitch and tight intimidating surroundings had all the ingredients to inhibit Beverley’s attacking machine, but they dug deep and their fitness showed in the closing minutes of the game.
Rich Etherington was unavailable so Will Mail got a start at prop, and Guy Adams was drafted onto the bench. Lewis Poskitt returned to scum-half spot. The visitors enjoyed the greater of the possession and territory in the opening half an hour.
The first scoring opportunity came in the 5th minute when Lewis Poskitt’s well weighted kick into the in-goal area was lunged at by Glen Anfield, who was unlucky to not ground the ball correctly. They made no no mistake in the 15th minute when Poskitt and Anfield combined with ball in hand to send Ben Calvert over wide out. The difficult conversion was missed.
The lead was increased when the hosts knocked on in their own half. The ‘free play’ saw Adam Robson break away and get a pass away to send Lee Falcus over for another unconverted try.
Beverley failed to add to their lead despite a number of opportunities. The hosts edged their way back into the game and after forcing a line drop- out and off the resultant repeat, set got on the scoresheet. They grubbered on the last tackle, and the ball struck the post and bounced straight into a Knights attacker’s hands for him to score a converted try. The restart kick was fumbled by the hosts immediately handing the initiative back to Beverley.
After a spell of pressure, the ball was moved to the left for prolific try scorer Adam Robson to go over in the corner despite the attentions of at least two Knights defenders.
Just before the interval a lapse in concentration in defence by the visitors allowed a Knights forward go through a huge gap under the posts. The extras were added and things were level pegging at 12-12 at the break.
Early in the second half the visitors took the lead courtesy of Ryan Watkin’s kick ahead, which hit a Knights defender and bounced back into Watkins hand for him to score and convert his own try. The score then remained at 18-12 until the 70th minute. The visitors endured several sets of six on their own line and seemed to have the measure of their opponents defensively. In attack, there were several opportunities to finish the game off.
A break from deep in his own half from Jack Howdle saw the pass to a support runner go to ground. One very strong bustling run from Will Mail saw him held up over the line, and a flowing attacking movement saw Adam Robson pulled up literally inches away from his second try. Credit must be given to the home sides defence on occasions here.
The game breaker finally came when Bobby Howdle broke away got a pass away to Glen Anfield, who streaked away down the right flank and got an inside pass away to the supporting Ryan Watkin, who went over beside the posts. The conversion was missed but moments later Lewis Poskitt added a cheeky drop-goal.
Poskitt was on hand again when his kick ahead was deflected by a Knights defender. Jake Hart-Fisher regathered and gave an inside pass to send Poskitt over beside the posts. This time Watkin added the extras and the points were safe.
Man of the match was Steve Connolly, who got through a huge amount of work initially in the loose forward position and when later switched to full back was reassuringly solid when under the high ball and clearing his lines.
This latest victory ensures that the blue and golds have ended 2014 at the top of the table. They now look forward to their Tom Beautiman Cup final on 3rd January against Hull Dockers ‘A’. A supporters bus is planned, and details will be given shortly.