1XV (M)
Sat 13 Jan 2024  ·  Counties 1 Yorkshire
Wetherby RUFC
1XV (M)
Wetherby Hold On In Another Close Fought Game

Wetherby Hold On In Another Close Fought Game

Sean Lally4 Feb - 12:16
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"I knew we'd keep them out, we've been working on D all season", Coach Woodworth

And yet another beautiful day at Grange Park, with blue skies, and scattered clouds up above, Wetherby knew they were in for a tough challenge against Pocklington, a team with a rich history.

Wetherby welcomed back to the team, Cameron Briggs from his short holiday in Otley, and also welcome back Gilbert and Reed from their skiing holidays. Mason’s red card from last week, sees Kitching back in the front row alongside Hoather and Woodworth, Yet again, 13 players out of the 18 in the squad are homegrown, something the club is very proud of.

Following the sad passing of Paul Ambler the club held a minutes silence before kick off. As always our thoughts were with his family.

Pocklington (to be called Pock from now on as I'm not typing that out 50 times...) kickoff and the ball ends up in the safe arms of Hoather who epitomises the phrase 'no backward step', and starts the maraud in to the Pock half. Further great work from Greenwood and Kitching and Wetherby made good progress into the Pocklington half but with some canny work in the ruck, Pock gain possession and it was their turn to pile on the forward pressure. Up pops Jonny day with the first big tackle of the afternoon on the Pock 2nd row and the Pock attack is thwarted.

These two sides looked pretty evenly matched from the outset and the play swung backwards and forwards, possession for Pocklington, and possession for Wetherby but neither side really gaining much ground. The first real breakthrough came from a backs move with a pass from Arundel through to Little and then back into Yates. The backs were firing, until we promptly lost possession and Pocklington restarted their attack. Wetherby, were finding some real opposition in the scrum for the first time this season but held firm. The backs looked like they should have the upper hand as this game progressed, marshalled by the ever youthful yet highly experienced Day, who worked his magic in the middle of the pitch with a sharp rugby brain and even sharper hands, then kicking through the defensive line and forcing a knock on from the visitors. But despite field advantage, Wetherby couldn't make it count and Pock regained possession.

With the usual early melee over, the game settled in to a rhythm but it was Pock who were to make the first real breakthrough with a solid, rolling mall that took them in to the Wetherby 22 and with a penalty available, the referee gave advantage and Pocklington dived over to score near touch to leave a tricky kick which they converted.


Wetherby started positively from the kickoff and kept possession in the Pocklington half. With some very industrious work from Hoather, Blakey and Draper giving the backs some space. The ball came out to Kay and onto Arundel who brought in Little but the attack was thwarted and it left the forwards to build again. Pulling the play to the near touch line Greenwood had obviously read the script and was lurking suspiciously in the 12 position so after 10 phases of forwards grunt he was available to run a fantastic line, and land in the in goal area with the ball underneath him – try to Wetherby.

Converted Yates


Wetherby re-started on the front foot and quickly earned a penalty for holding on as Acland extended those Gadget arms to win the ball back however the penalty was missed.

The next few minutes were a set of super phases of play from Wetherby with the ball, whipping through the back hands, Jonny Day, been at the centre of everything. But the ball arrived, and some little capable hands, and as he pumped his large thighs pitch opened up , a one-handed offload inside brought Jonny Day, back in then offloaded to his old mate, Harry Kay, who, then, strangely seem to run in slow motion towards the trial line, but despite the PCC backs of Pocklington, closing in on him, he managed to score in the corner to take Wetherby ahead.

Conversion 12-7

Wetherby were looking like they were really up for this game and with some massive tackles that kept Pock outside of the 22 however, failing to roll away gave Parkinson and easy penalty 12-10

Half time 12-10

The second half kicked off much the same way as the first half started with lots of backwards and forwards between Pocklington and Wetherby. But consistent penalties from Pocklington kept Wetherby driving forward. Blakey made a break into the Pocklington 22, the pace of Wetherby and the aggression attack was just too much for Pocklington were desperate in defence and again infringed the laws of the game, surely there had to be a red yellow card. To liven things up, coach Mason called up the subs and Gilbert and Briggs came on for Blakey and Ward off.

As is his usual style Gilbert was straight in to the action with an aggressive run into the 22, but crossing by Wetherby gave Pocklington some relief. But only briefly as again Pock were on the wrong side of the ref and their 9 sees yellow after a cowardly push on Redmond, and then refuses to shake hands as he walks off, poor form. The subsequent line out was expertly gathered by Gilbert and he set up another pacey set of runs for Wetherby, with Yates making massive progress supported by Day and Greenwood of all people - this chap has a habit of popping up in all the right places. The ball came back to Draper who again forced his way through, the ball then passed out Woodworth who continued the very promising attack but the ball was lost at the bottom of the ruck. Fortunately the ref had a good memory and went back for a penalty on the 22.

As is usual for Wetherby, they decided to scrum with Gilbert taking it off the back of the scrum, delivering a perfect pass out to Little, but who was outnumbered on the wing and Pocklington regained possession?

As the minutes ticked down on the bin, Wetherby struggled to take advantage and found themselves in their own half, despite some dominant play. With the school finely balanced at 12:10, the storm clouds gathered above and based on Pocks perseverance the Wetherby faithful would have preferred a converted try between the two teams as Pocklington demonstrated their resilience, despite being a man.

Wetherby again find themselves in their own 22 and under pressure but Yates finds a good exit almost up to halfway with yet another great kick. Blakey comes back on for Greenwood who has put a massive shift in as always, and whilst nothing to do with Blakey, Pock eventually get the ball wide and found the gap to score their second try. 12-15

Conversion missed.

The opposition try spurred Wetherby on and from a dominant field position Wetherby constructed a rolling more, and from that the ball came out to Harry Kay on a fantastic line with Beeson itching to pick up the next pass on his shoulder which he does and found a way through the Pocklington defence to score for Wetherby.

Conversion, score 17points to 15

From the kickoff Wetherby played some exhilarating rugby, both in the forwards and backs culminating in Sam Little down the wing with Beeson again on his outside. But Little couldn't find the pass and the opportunity went begging. With only two points in it, the crowd were nervous, and, despite Pocklington possession, the defence from Wetherby was very strong, and they eventually forced a knock on, and a scrum to Wetherby where they were starting to become more dominant

Frustratingly and inexplicably Wetherby lost their own scrum, and from the ensuing melee Pocklington gained a penalty and a highly makeable kick. With only two points in it, that kick would take Pocklington ahead, the crowd went silent, all that could be heard, was the distant noise from the motorway, and as the ball sailed up, it went wide and left, the wind taking it down toward the river and away from the left-hand post. Wetherby lived to fight another day.

Literally every referee decision was becoming critical, and from the next phase of play Wetherby got a penalty and Yates punted the ball down to the Pocklington 22. All Wetherby needed here was a solid line out. Hoather threw in with the target being Draper, and hit him perfectly. The rolling maul followed that took them into the Pock 22 with a slightly disorganised Pocklington defence, but they soon got reorganised. The game was so evenly balanced that as one team made an error and gave a penalty away it seemed that it was only fair for the next team to receive the next penalty, as was the case, Pocklington relieved the pressure with a clearance kick although it only gained them 10 yards however, they had the put in at the line out on the 10 yard line. Wetherby needed to contest this line out and somehow recover possession as the clock ticked down.

Despite Pocklington‘s aggressive attacking phases taking them well in to the Wetherby half, Wetherby forced the turnover and gained a scrum in their 22. The clock ticked down to 0 and Yates does the right thing by kicking the ball into touch and giving Wetherby a very close victory, 17 points to 15.

Coach Woodworth leaves the field with a nonchalant shrug "I knew we'd keep them out, we've been working on D all season".

Match details

Match date

Sat 13 Jan 2024




Counties 1 Yorkshire

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