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Bumper crowd sees Yarnbury secure place in RFU Senior Vase at Twickenham
Buy this photo Jason Avison dives over the line for Yarnbury's second try
Yarnbury 21 Stewarts & Lloyds 11
Yarnbury delighted a bumper crowd of 1,200 by clinching a place in the final of the RFU Senior Vase at Brownberrie Lane on Saturday.
They will now play the holders Newent from Gloucestershire at Twickenham on Sunday, May 4.
It is a dream come true for the popular Horsforth club which has witnessed nothing like it in its 152-year history.
The powerful visitors arrived backed by three coach loads of spectators and they dominated the early play as they had the benefit of the strong breeze, Their full back Chris Jones narrowly missed with a third-minute penalty from near halfway before opening the scoring with an easier kick two minutes later.
It took Yarnbury 15 minutes to get into the action but fast hands from Carl Patterson and Jason Avison released left winger Elis Gomersall on halfway.
He handed off his speedy opposite number before racing for the line to score an unconverted try.
The score settled any nerves as the home side took control with big hits going in from all the team in a good defensive display.
A probing kick from Carl Paterson and catch from second row Ian Maycock released right winger Chris Flowers. He was stopped short of the line by great defensive work from the visitors, just as Paterson was minutes later.
Yarnbury spurned a penalty kick at goal and opted instead to kick for the corner. They secured possession from the line-out but the drive was ineffective against a well-drilled defence.
The pressure was mounting and the home crowd was soon roaring its approval again when a Paterson chip over the defence bounced kindly for Avison to take on the full and score close in. Paterson's conversion established a 12-3 lead.
The last ten minutes of the half belonged to the visitors. Yarnbury appeared to be coping with the pressure when Avison was sin-binned for killing the ball just before half-time.
Jones converted the penalty to reduce the arrears to six points. It was a warning to the home side.
The second half started with Stewarts & Lloyds using their subs regularly, especially as their forwards were being knocked down by ferocious Yarnbury tackling. The back row of Jimmy Cryan, James Barrett and Joe Bennetu were working non-stop.
When Yarnbury did venture into their opponents' half, stand-off Paterson stunned the defence with a well-placed drop kick which sailed between the posts to extend the Yarnbury lead to nine points.
Still Stewarts & Lloyds refused to give in. They came back with a great break by their captain Greg Lewis from the stand off channel which created an overlap for winger Craig Findlay to go over in the corner for a try which Jones narrowly failed to convert.
Patterson gave Yarnbury a little more breathing space with a penalty following pressure from the home pack and great runs from Richard Lister, Tom Gilcrist and Adam Pike.
With only one score and conversion in it it was still anybody’s game. Yarnbury's cause wasn't helped by another yellow card.
Once again they were forced to defend but their line held firm. Stewarts & Lloyds battered away but were repeatedly driven back by the boot of Paterson and the running of the backs.
Yarnbury knew the next score would be decisive. A great break down the right saw the final difficult pass to winger Flowers just lost with the line beckoning.
Captain Oliver Cashman had also gone close with the field opening up in front of him, but he didn't have the legs to get to the line. However,the tackling player was penalised and the lead became ten points with a close in penalty from the boot of Paterson.
Yarnbury were in total control in the final ten minutes with Paterson kicking the Corby side back into the corners and second row Ian Maycock winning constant ball at the line-outs.
The two Gomersall brothers hugged as the final whistle blew after six minutes of injury time that the spectators feared would never end.
Yarnbury's dream of playing on the hallowed turf of Twickenham is about to come true.
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