Old Rishworthians 38, Yarnbury 32
Yarnbury needed this SSE Yorkshire Division Two fixture like a bee sting on the weekend before Twickenham but they also needed a routine run-out prior to the big day, and were caught between this and a determined outfit wanting to show why this is arguably the toughest league in the country at this level.
The visitors had rested several squad members who had knocks from the previous week’s fierce encounter but the remainder of the squad were on the park, and from a mistake from the kick-off, Yarnbury gave the initiative to Rishworthians, whose big pack were clearly out to make a contest of their last match of the league season.
After several scrums managed to get over, prop Ryan Mudd managed to ground the ball, despite last-ditch tacklers attempt to hold him up. Full back Joe Billings adding the extras.
Yarnbury then started to play and were soon in front with two excellent tries.
Good forward drives released the backs and they created space out wide, firstly for left wing Ellis Gomersall to brush past his opposite number with ease to touch down, and then second row Ian Maycock saw the gap after a similar move and opened his legs to race in for a second try.
With a Patterson penalty also on the board, normal service was seemingly resumed.
But Rishworthians refused to lie down, and wing Gerrard Rollings was missed on the right and scored out wide but a good conversion by Billings gave the lead back to the Halifax side.
Yarnbury were loose at the breakdown at this stage, and poor defence allowed second row Callum Heseltine to score close in, Billings converting again to give the home side a 21-13 lead at the half-time whistle.
Things went from bad to worse at the restart with another seven points gifted to the opponents when fellow second row Frazer Swarbrook also touched down from close in after dropped ball gave Rishworthians a penalty and possession in the Yarnbury half. Rish managed to keep the ball and finally drive over to extend their lead.
Again Yarnbury put a second phase together and scored two more tries after concentrated pressure, with the forward retaining the ball and the backs too slick for the opposition with Gomersall unstoppable for for his second and Carl Paterson doing what he does best, driving and weaving for the line to show his teammates the way to win.
One try was converted by the calm and experienced Stephen Riley to bring the score back to 28-25 and make it game on!
With Gloucestershire spies in the crowd watching for the Twickenham final, they would have gone home with a headache.
Yarnbury were again penalised for a ruck infringement for Rollings to extend the Rishworthians’ lead eight points and leave Yarnbury with nothing from the game.
But this only set up a grandstand finish for Gomersall to charge down a defensive kick in an effort to relieve constant Yarnbury pressure, the winger touching down when the ball stopped just over the try line.
With substitute full back Jarrod Huss striking the conversion well, the game was finally balanced like mand end-of-season festival game at 33-32 – but with Yarnbury applying all the pressure on the Rishworthian line against a team they put to the sword by scoring 50 points against in the home league game earlier in the season.
Yarnbury had their chances in the final five minutes to scramble a win, with the home side crying for the final whistle, but they still had chance to pick up a loose pass from Paterson to score a final try through Rollings, with all the Yarnbury side upfield in a frantic effort to get the win.
In the final analysis, the more committed side won the game and it was a good workout for the Twickenham-bound Horsforth side who took two points from the game and with it gained promotion to Yorkshire Division One with two games remaining.
However, they know this was not a performance to remember after a recent run of very tough fixtures.
Yarnbury Hornets overwhelmed Morley Thirds 87-12 and the Third XV lost a tough match at Dinnington by 29-12.
Yarnbury gained silverware on the Sunday when their Colts won the Yorkshire Bowl final, beating favorites Scunthorpe 33-14 in the Yorkshire Under-19 Finals Day at Hudderfield RUFC.