Bees U16s hosted West Leeds U16s in the semi-final of the Yorkshire Bowl competition at the weekend. A much improved disciplined display from all the lads and hat tricks for Nico De Vittoris and Bobby Darbyshire coupled with Bees putting their trademark game together of an expansive display of open, flowing rugby and a solid, uncompromising defensive display was too much for West Leeds to handle.
From the off Bees were looking to send the ball out to their backs and with halves Ben Hemsley and Harry Normington distributing the ball well Joe Pearson and Jake Brett combined in the centres find their winger and send De Vittoris clear on a sprint from half way to open the scoring. From the kick off with Reggie Herd, Travis Smith, Charlie Wilson and Joel Waddington working hard to set the platform in the forwards the ball was soon being sent out wide through the backs with De Vittoris grabbing his second and after further good play from Pearson and Brett, Bobby Darbyshire opened his account from the opposite wing a few minutes later. With a conversion added from De Vittoris Bees were well in control of a game they were never to lose the lead in.
With the introduction of James Whitcombe to the fray an already steely opening from the forwards was bolstered as Whitcombe put himself about and ensured the Bees kept the advantage at the breakdown. With West Leeds faltering and the gaps in their defensive line beginning to show under the pressure from Bees, Joel Waddington forced his way through the tackles to make the break from the opposition’s 22 and go in for a further score with De Vittoris adding the extras.
Whitcombe added the final score of the first half as a good interchange of play between him and Darbyshire saw him swiftly switch play to the blind side and go in almost unopposed. However West Leeds weren’t giving up easily and after taking advantage of penalties to get them up field, a good piece of set play from the lineout on the Bees 10 meter line saw them ruck over the line, adding a good kick from out wide to leave Bees 29 7 up at half time.
Into the second half the game initially became a little scrappy with West Leeds drawing Bees into an arm wrestle in the middle of the park. Credit to Bees though as they soaked up all the pressure from West Leeds and defended manfully to keep the visitors scoreless in the second half.
Bees opportunities to attack second half were limited but they were still able to take their chances when they came. Darbyshire was lively all game and a spilled ball from West Leeds was seized upon by him and as he outsprinted the West Leeds cover he went two thirds of the pitch to touch down under the posts. Having learned their lesson in the first half of how dangerous Bees winger De Vittoris was the West Leeds defence marshalled well against him and ensured he did not have the space he had exploited so well in the first half. However as West Leeds tired in the second half De Vittoris kept chipping away and eventually found the space again and showed what a quality finisher he is to go in and complete his hat trick.
Full back Danny Murphy had been solid all game under the high ball. In the closing quarter another excellent take on the full from him saw him run the ball back out of his own half. With some neat footwork he stepped through the defence to break the West Leeds line and take play well into the West Leeds half. As his opposite number came across to tackle him Murphy drew the full back perfectly and passed the ball to the irrepressible Darbyshire who was only too glad to finish the play and go over to complete his hat trick. De Vittoris added two further conversions in the second half to round off the scoring at 48 7 in favour of Bees and see them book their place in the final.
An added bonus is the fact that Bees RUFC have been chosen to host the U16s Yorkshire Cup, Shield and Bowl Finals at the end of April. With the Bees U16s getting an unexpected home game in the final against East Yorkshire side Hull Ionians it would be great to get a sizeable home support down to cheer on the lads in what hopefully will be their first cup success.