Sunday at Roses: Men’s Rugby 1st

Lancaster Blitzkrieg in the Second Half leads to thumping win over York to finish Roses 2024

(Image: George Howarth)

Over 130 fixtures over the weekend, lots of match reporting, photos, and not so much sleep all came down to the final fixture of the day outside (with Netball Seconds having the honour of finishing the indoor day action). There was not anything points wise to play for, Lancaster already had a hefty deficit over York by the time the men’s rugby teams took to the main pitch in front of a packed-out crowd, but there was still plenty to play for. 

York players are ‘welcomed’ onto the pitch by members of the Lancaster rugby team
(Image: George Howarth)

One of the bright notes of an otherwise disastrous home Roses for York in 2023 was the complete whitewash in rugby union in both the men’s and women’s. This was a sour note that Lancaster desperately wanted to correct and York just as desperately wanted to hold onto. This meant the match was certainly cagey in the first quarter, as Lancaster enjoyed more possession. Lineout inaccuracy and a wobbly scrum, which just couldn’t handle the 6 foot 7 frame of tighthead Harvey Matkin meant York were unable to string together a considerable number of phases. Lancaster on the other hand, were very clinical and despite York keeping the maul at bay, Matkin was just not going to be stopped from five metres out, which was duly converted by scrumhalf Billy Boyd, who had the goal-kicking duties. Just three minutes later, from another rolling maul, the flyhalf whizzed the ball outside to Rob Cooke who dummied and dotted the ball down under the sticks. Boyd easily converted and suddenly Lancaster had got to a quick 14-0 lead to jubilation from the home support as well as rowdy ‘ultras’ (players from Lancaster’s seconds and thirds) on the other side of the pitch. 

However, Lancastrian complacency let York back into the game in the first half. From a scrum inside the 22, the attempted box-kick from Boyd was charged down by his opposite number, Steffan Douch and he dotted down to give York a try which was unconverted from the fullback, Fin Morris. Lancaster were not going to let momentum slide, and a rolling maul from five metres out gave Matkin his second try of the game, and it was converted for a 21-5 lead.

Lancaster on the attack in the first half
(Image: George Howarth)

The lineout, which had been stuttering for York, had finally started to click, and for the first time in the game they were able to string together some phases. Despite Lancastrian attempts to cause mayhem at the breakdown, Captain No.8 Dylan Jamni (who led his team from the front all day and often rescued a reversing scrum with crucial carries from the base) burst his way over the tryline for a converted score at 21-12. Lancaster responded back just as quickly with Cooke powering his way over the line, it suspiciously looked like double movement yet the officials were happy and another conversion set the score at 28-12 and the half-time whistle soon followed with a 16 point mountain for York to climb.  

The second half started off with a lot of stop-and-starts, and not brilliant rugby from either side. Even with a yellow card to Lancaster’s Cypriot international Pantelis Styliano (yes this is apparently true) for starting a scrap, York were never able to make the extra man count and were guilty of overplaying on the halfway line in a desperate attempt to exploit the one man advantage. 

As soon as Styliano’s sin-bin finished Lancaster went into fourth gear and York never got another sniff in the game. York had an opportunity to get a third try but a loose ball and a pick-up from Lancaster meant they marched up the field and never looked back. With the pressure building, an inside ball from replacement scrumhalf and York’s defence parted like the Red Sea as Cook swan-dived over for his second. This was the opening of the floodgates in the last five minutes. York’s flyhalf Chesworth tried a speculative up-and-under that was calmly collected by Lancaster’s left wing Dan Hope. Instead of calling for the mark, he neatly slipped the ball out to replacement Chris Rochelle on the wrap-around and Lancaster burst up the field again. A few phases later and the replacement prop Gavin Mulhall barnstormed his way over the line for a converted score. By this point, York were completely out on their feet and Lancaster’s flyhalf danced inside a tired forward to make a break down the middle and made a pearl of pass to Dan Hope on the wing to score. 

York were unable to get any consolation scores in the final plays of the game and the match finished 47-12 as the victorious players were swamped by red-flares and Lancastrian pitch invaders. Throughout the game, York suffered from a dysfunctional set piece in the lineout and being destroyed in the scrum and had no platform to counter Lancaster with and the home side were able to finish Roses with a rout of their own in the Men’s rugby. 

This article is a corrected version of the article that was in the Roses Print. York Vision Sport would like to apologise for the errors that were in the print version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.