Durham U20's vs Yorkshire U20 Match Report
The first round of games in this year’s Jason Leonard U.20’s County Championship had seen Durham defeat Northumberland
by a score of 40-12 at Hartlepool RFC whilst Yorkshire had faced Cheshire at Sandbach RFC, returning home having recorded a 10-32 victory. It was therefore anticipated that a hard fought contest would result as Durham U20's visited made the trip to Sheffield RFC to face Yorkshire U20's on Sunday. As it turned out the visitors came away with a conclusive 24-10 victory to maintain their position at the top of the North section of the Jason Leonard tournament.
Yorkshire started the brightest but failed to penetrate the excellent defence of the Durham team and it was the visitors who had the first chance with a kick and chase breakaway from winger Joseph Scarborough who was unlucky to see the ball bounce away close to the Yorkshire 22m line. However, it did not take long for Durham to open the scoring when scrum half Dan Ormond took a quick tap penalty before being tackled close to the try line. After a series of drive
s, hooker Hamish YELDHAM burrowed through to the line for the first try which was converted by full back Magnus BROADLEY. The visitors were on the charge now and were camped for long periods in the Yorkshire half. Their cause was helped with two yellow cards being issued the home team. The front five of Kiran HOPE, YELDHAM, Alex RADCLIFFE, Ben GLANVILLE and Korede SANUSI were dominant in most exchanges at this stage, with excellent support from their back row of Tom CAMPBELL, Alfie BLUNDELL and Jack CAHILL. However, credit to Yorkshire, who defended with great tenacity to keep the visitors out until YELDHAM scored again close to half time. The try was again converted by BROADLEY. The sides reached half time with Durham deservedly leading 14-0. The only possible disappointment was that with the dominance they had shown it could and should have been more.
The second half was a cagier affair, resulting in Durham captain Mitchell LACEY-BABALOLA instructing full back BROADLEY to attempt a penalty kick from around 35 metres wide out towards the touchline. This proved no issue to the majestic full back who increased Durham's lead to 17-0. The Durham backs were in great form defensively while also looked dangerous with ball in hand. Stand-off Ben CLARKE was controlling play efficiently and was well supported by centres Ethan COLE and his skipper who were running dangerously. They too were being well supported by wingers Joseph SCARBOROUGH and Will ROBINSON. On 65 minutes, substitutes Lochie LAWSON and Ted REID combined, with the latter setting off on a mazy run from 40 yards out to power over for Durham's 3rd try, again converted by BROADLEY. Now leading 24-0 against a team who have held a significant edge over the visitors for a number of years, Durham searched for the bonus point. However, Yorkshire had other ideas, and finished with two unconverted tries by their wingers for the final scores of the game.
Durham's day became better after the final whistle when they heard that Northumberland had beaten Lancashire, meaning that they are currently the only unbeaten County in the 5 team group. Durham now travel to face Lancashire at Liverpool St. Helens RFC on Sunday 23rd April. The final group game is then a home fixture against Cheshire on 7th May at Ryton RFC.
Should they manage to go on to win the group, then a home semi-final is on offer on the 21st May, with a potential final at Ealing Trailfinders ground on 4th June. There is though still a long way to go and the players know an improvement is required for the last two games, but they are currently holding the cards so far in this group.