On a day when strong hearts and minds beat stronger bodies Beverley RUFC U13s produced a scintillating performance to come from behind three times and beat a big muscular Rotherham side 35 -25 and reach the final of the Yorkshire Plate.
Beverley have a bad habit of conceding early scores before jolting into action and Sunday was no exception when with three minutes on the clock the visitors ran a penalty move from the halfway line straight through a nonexistent Beverley defence for the first try.
No doubt encouraged by this success Rotherham spent the next 15 minutes attempting to repeat the feat keeping the ball tight with their strong ball carriers aiming straight for the heart of the Beverley defence, however, they were to be met by a wall of green.
Spink at stand off stood firm to stop a powerful drive in its tracks but suffered an injury for his bravery forcing Sam Bayes to move across from centre and hold the gap that refused to be breached. The forwards were working overtime with Willans covering acres of ground, Parkinson making customary hits and Killgannon creating turnovers at the breakdown.
Slowly Beverley edged into the game gaining territory and possession with chances appearing out wide. In the 20th minute the Beverley pressure led to a panicked kick from defence by Rotherham which landed straight into the hands of leading try scorer Fenn who duly accepted his gift rounding two defenders out wide to tie up the score5-5.
The hosts now knew they had the pace to change the tempo of the game and start playing more on their terms spreading the ball wide and moving Rotherham around the park negating their considerable size advantage. In the final play of the half a beautiful shimmy took Stevens round his opposite wing and chipped past the covering full back in a dash for the line that was unfortunately just beyond him and the supporting England to leave the sides tied 5-5 at half time.
It was déjà vu at the start of the second half as the loss of intensity during the break meant Beverley were unable to stop a simple set play from a Rotherham scrum on halfway leaving a marauding Rotherham to run straight through for 10-5. Cruz, at outside centre has pace and power offering Beverley a different option that he used to good effect bursting through the defence and immediately levelling the scores.
Back came the visitors in a see saw battle with three strong runners being felled before the Beverley line was breached again to give the visitors a 15-10 lead with 20 minutes to go. Beverley were not to concede again as they started to dictate how the game should be played.
Sam Bayes and Gorman used every opportunity to gain territory kicking the ball deep and turning their opponents round to set up camp in their half. So successful was Gorman that he chased one kick from his own 22 to convert at the other end without picking the ball up once in a remarkable display of footballing skills with the egg shaped ball.
15-15 but momentum with Beverley; Parkinson fumbled a difficult chance on the line before another panicked kick from the Rotherham defence was again returned with interest, this time by Sam Bayes to give Beverley the lead for the first time.
Still Rotherham tried to come back but Beverley would not yield, Pearson and Welpton delivered crunching hits to send the on rushers backwards and Cammack did the dirty work tidying up lose ball and driving straight back at the opposition.
It was an extraordinary display from the outsized Beverley pack as they refused to allow Rotherham to play their way. Particular credit must go to hooker Wilkinson whose clean strikes ensured Beverley retained possession of their scrums despite going backwards allowing young Max Bayes again bravely playing up to fill the void left by the injured Youngs at scrum half to distribute swiftly.
The final score illustrated the point perfectly when an attacking scrum found its way to Couttie at outside centre who used his supporting runners to confound the Rotherham defence delaying his pass until a hole opened up so wide that he could glide through himself for the final score.
An enraged Rotherham roared back for the final five minutes attempting in vain to bridge the ten point gap but the Beverley defence were not in the mood as the brave hearts stood firm to see out the game for a superb victory and a place in the final.
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