York 34-20 Bees
By Benji Pickin
2nd half performance not enough to stop York
On a very blustery afternoon, with gusts of wind swirling first this way and that, both sides decided not to try and use the strength of the wind and simply belt the ball downfield whenever possible and as a result, there was a surprising amount open running rugby from both sides. It has to be said that for most of the first half most of that running was coming from the home side and the visiting Bees didn't seem to have an answer to a lively home backline and solid pack which kept the Bees largely on defensive duties for most of the first half.
The Bees have several players who can create a chance out of nothing, but with York utterly dominant, it would not be overly harsh to describe the Bees attacking play in the first half hour as largely coming to nothing. The pattern was set in the fourth minute where a Bees player missed his defensive assignment in midfield and the home backs whipped the ball out to the left wing where Gareth Singleton was able to scamper round the final Bees defender from out wide on the left to open the scoring. Jonathan Dawes tacking on the extras. Eight minutes later and the Bees were back under the sticks admiring another Dawes conversion of a Shane Goulding score. Tom Johnson was doing his best to duck and dive away from the ruck and maul areas in the middle of the field, but most of the Bees play was outside the home 22 and was defended without too much concern by the home side. On 28 minutes, things got worse for the visitors as centre George Davis sliced through some very poor defence to stretch the home advantage to 21 nil after Dawes landed his third conversion. Eight minutes later the York scrum half found himself free with no-one at home to stop him on the way to the line and it was 26 nil with half time coming over the horizon.
The Bees had begun to up their game significantly and were now looking a bit more like themselves as the ball started to be shipped around by the backs and the forwards started to move the pile of defenders round the mauls back towards the home line. Right on half time, Thomas Bacon got the ball close to the line and powered over to the left of the posts. 26 - 5 as the sides turned round.
The Bees began the second half with far more purpose than they had for most of the first period and on 47 minutes, Lance Taylor slid over to the left of the posts. At 26 - 10 and with the momentum of the game starting to go with the Bees, the home advantage was not insurmountable, but a penalty from Dawes and then a try from Daniel Coe stretched the home side's lead out to 24 points, which left the Bees realistically just in the hunt for bonus points.
Taylor was moved into scrum half and there seemed to be more purpose about the visiting backline in their hunt for the two tries that were needed. York defended well and also managed to break out from defensive duties to keep the Bees honest and also having to mount offensive moves from in their own half. With five minutes left on the clock, Cameron Bainbridge made the breakthrough that the visitors had been looking for and with Taylor not making an attempt at the conversion to speed things up, the game, if not the scoreboard, had swung in the visitors favour. The Bees ended the half much as they had ended the first and were rewarded with a second score for Taylor who zipped over to left of the posts to claim a bonus point.