The local derby trip to Bridlington for the Beavers was always going to be a tough challenge. The previous week Brid came away with an away win at top of the table Old Crossleyans and look to have secured the fourth spot in the league, which is the last promotion spot.
The weather was good for an open game of rugby, and in patches, Beverley’s backs looked impressive, unfortunately, the power of the imported front row and backline of the forward pack was too much, and Bridlington was deserved winners by the end of the afternoon scoring 46 points to Beverley’s 15.
Beverley actually started the brighter of the two teams and good early pressure was finally rewarded with a penalty from Phil Duboulay on 20”, a few minutes later a power play by the home team was deemed to be a double movement and prevented them from scoring their first try of the afternoon.
However, not long after, a penalty awarded to Bridlington was the perfect platform for their number eight (James Thomson, who was an annoyance to Beverley all afternoon) to crash over for an unconverted try. Five minutes later a good finish in the corner from the winger, and then after that in what appeared to be the 49th minute of the first half, one of the big Fijian prop forwards was able to crash over on the back of a penalty (which saw Aidan Calvert receive the first of a number of yellow cards in the afternoon for Beverley), tap and go near to the Beverley line, also unconverted. When the referee did finally blow his whistle for half-time it was 15-3 which felt didn’t represent the balance of possession and play, but the Beavers was still in the hunt.
But to stay in the hunt they needed to sure up the defence in the middle of the park against the big front and back-rowers of the home team, more easily said than done, these were big units that took a lot of stopping, and five minutes into the second half another tackle was missed and the big prop forward was able to offload to his fellow prop to finish under the posts which really took the wind out of the Beverley sails, 22-3.
Eight minutes into the second half and another hammer blow for the Beavers when Aidan Calvert was awarded a second yellow card for an offence at the breakdown, leaving Beverley with just 14, facing the home team with the momentum, the wind and already a healthy lead, the omens were not good.
Another defensive breach a few minutes later saw the loose head prop trot over near the posts which he repeated just five minutes later again missed tackles gifting the home team two converted tries, 36-3.
The Beverley fourteen now knew how the result was going, but it was pleasing to see character and effort shine through from key members of the team. Although frustrations were starting to show, given the inability to stop such direct rugby, the score-line, and an inability to adapt to the game the referee was playing, was starting to take its toll.
After another unconverted try on 60 minutes in the corner for the winger, the next flashpoint came for Beverley when Mike Melhuish and Captain Rob Smith were awarded yellow cards for talking back to the referee. At this point the 12 man Beverley facing a 15 man strong Bridlington, who were leading 41-3 with 20 minutes to play, looked more ominous that it had all afternoon. It seemed to galvanise Beverley however.
Mazy runs from the man of the match Jake Boardman and good, carefree interplay saw the Beavers show some class, coming from a quick turnover from the Beverley 5m line, giving Luke Hazell the opportunity to exploit the smallest of gaps, as he does best, gaining 70m before an ankle tap, but good support from Boardman who was able to take the ball to the right and create the space for Jacob Baggs to finish, which was converted by Duboulay. With 12 men on the field, this was the highlight of the afternoon for Beverley.
With a few minutes left to play, the referee finally brandished a yellow card in the direction of the home team for James Thompson, however it didn’t stop one more try for the home team with two minutes to play, but the very last word was Beverley’s and specifically, Luke Hazell was able to finish a fine try in the corner on the full-time whistle, 46-15.
A frustrating afternoon for the Beavers, who are struggling with squad numbers due to injuries and the post-pandemic effect (losing players to other sports/interests), and who know they can play better and with more discipline, but just couldn’t match the Bridlington forwards. The Beavers definitely had the better backs, but as the old adage goes if you can’t get the ball you won’t win the game.
Next weekend is a blank weekend, as it is the final six Nations games, after that a home fixture against Pontefract, who are second in the table will be the next big challenge on 26 March, which is also our ladies day, come along and support the team and have some fun.
On a lighter note, it was great to see Chris Dexter back on the side-line waving his flag with consummate professionalism, although we understand it was just a guest appearance!