Never pretty to watch but in the end, it all came to life with an exciting finish. Given that they were never really competing in the first half this was a good result for Beverley.
Throughout the half, they had been dire, totally lacking in any urgency or adventure. It was as though they had been addressed pre-match by an official from the Health and Safety Executive. A better side than Leodensians might have put thirty or forty points past them before halftime.
All the rugby in the first half came from Leodensians who kicked well to keep play in the Beverley half and showed plenty of running in their back play. They were altogether faster and more determined about the pitch. Beverley hardly ever got over the halfway line, hardly ever had any decent possession and never once looked like scoring. We never saw a single positive back move throughout the half. Jack Foster bursting away from his own 22 on a determined run out of defence was the only bit of action to raise the spirits. But somehow Leodensians, who had won only once this season, were unable to capitalize and until shortly before halftime had only a penalty from fly half Max Seers to show for their total dominance.
On the stroke of halftime they did add a converted try when their bulky prop Dave Llewellyn rumbled over following a penalty to the corner, but to turn round only 10-0 up represented a poor return for their superiority. It still left the game wide open if Beverley could pull themselves together in the second half. In the event whatever was said in the Beverley conclave at halftime, it produced a complete transformation. After the interval, they were a different side and came out with all guns blazing. From half time Beverley were the only team in it and their play was totally unrecognisable from what had gone before.
Prompted by skipper Rob Smith at scrum-half and with Phil Duboulay pulling the strings at fly-half the ball was moved speedily about and with positive intent. Suddenly it was now Beverley who were by far the quicker and livelier side. The Beverley pack had dominated their opponents throughout and now began providing good ball. Rhys Innes was playing splendidly in the lineout and Jack Houseman, Louie Frear and Callum Harvey were exerting their muscle with some determined foraging. Yet for all their newfound superiority Beverley, like Leodensians in the first half, found it hard to get points on the board.
Finally after twenty minutes they got going when Leodensians lock Filip Nawrocki was sin-binned and Duboulay kicked the penalty from wideout. Despite Beverley’s pressure the home side continued to hold on. Beverley were still prone to moments of a lack of concentration well though they were playing. To the referee’s apparent exasperation they were conceding numerous penalties and some of the handling was sloppy. However, ten minutes before time Beverley attacked going left and Harvey went over for a try which Duboulay converted to bring the scores level at ten all. Now we had a game on our hands and it became a desperate finish with both sides going for the win.
Deep into injury time Leodensians had two opportunities to snatch victory with long-range but kickable penalties but both missed. From the second of these Luke Hazell fielded the ball behind the posts and set off on a mazy run which took him up to halfway. Beverley surged on up to the home 22.
Leodensians kicked for touch but Duboulay charged the kick down, gathered the ball and sprinted to the line for a last-gasp winning try to the delight of the long-suffering travelling supporters. Phew. It was some finish, but overall not a game that will linger long in anybody’s memory.
Final Score: Leodensians 10 Beverley RUFC 17