Hartlepool BBOB 5 Yarnbury 18
Seven days after returning to the top of Yorkshire Division Two, Yarnbury turned their attentions to the RFU Senior Vase and produced another solid performance.
The Horsforth side, who are bidding to emulate their Yorkshire rivals Selby who won the competition at Twickenham last May, made the trio to the North East without a number of key personnel.
The influential Jimmy Cryan and James Barrett were both missing from the back row due to work commitments but Yarnbury were fortunate to move Adam Batson back to the No8 spot alongside Richard Longstaff and Joe Bennett.
With James Falgate and Ian Maycock in the second row the pack was a strong one to match the Durham opposition’s style of play.
The pitch is on the Headland at Hartlepool facing the sea and a westerly gale was blowing visciously down the pitch.
Yarnbury faced it for the first half and didn’t let it worry them.
They had all the play in the first ten minutes and totally dominated the cautious Hartlepool side.
Well-organised waves of attack featuring forwards and backs carried play into the home 22.
From a maul hooker Tom Gilchrist crashed over for a try.
The wind proved too trouble-some for Carl Paterson to master with the conversion.
Right wingers Rob Rigby was given a number of opportunities to run at the Hartlepool defence and it was fitting that he should score the second try when the ball was moved to the blindside after a driving maul.
Hartlepool picked up their game and a series of long kicks from stand-off Gareth Foreman pinned Yarnbury back.
The defence held firm against a big strong pack until just before half-time. Scrum half Andrew Foreman – one of three brothers in the Hartlepool side – crashed over out wide on the left but the conversion went wide.
Gareth Foreman broke the cover on the half-time mark but was stopped by a last-gasp tackle from full back Stuart Wilson.
Yarnbury looked comfortable in the second half and several punts down field found the left touchline to keep Hartlepool on the back foot.
They were never going to run the length of the field out wide and their only chance was to hug the touchline and keep the ball tight in the forwards and to their credit this is what happened.
Paterson landed the first successful kick of the afternoon when he was slotted over a penalty from in front of the posts.
The final try came when Yarnbury finally won quick ball in the Hartlepool half and a clear run to the line was created for centre centre Jason Avison.
The last quarter became quite unsavory as the home side’s tempers became frayed.
In their frustration they amazingly piled 14 players into the mauls in their attempt to score but the Yarnbury defence held firm.
If Yarnbury win their home game against North Shields on February 22 they will be up against the winners of the Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria sections.