Rugby League: Yorkshire 16 – 10 Lancashire
Date published: 06 November 2017
Old foes Lancashire and Yorkshire fought out a tight game in the opener of the 2017 Tri Counties Series and it was the white rose of Yorkshire that won through in a tight game.
Lancashire had their opportunities, but a combination of handling errors, mixed choices and intervention of match officials saw them unable to get over the line, while Yorkshire took their chances.
After having the first decent possession of the game, Lancashire had to be patient. They found themselves continually bringing the ball away from their own line while a succession of knock-ons didn’t help the flow of the contest.
Impressive Yorkshire stand-off Andrew Hullock (Hunslet Club Parkside) was stopped just short of the try line and the white rose continued to test Lancashire's resolve. Fourteen minutes in a tricky Hullock grubber kick was fumbled by Thomas Maloney (Leigh Miners Rangers). After repelling their borders, it was the visitors turn to test the Yorkshire defence.
A scrum play in the twenty metre area almost brought points for Niall Allen (Thatto Heath Crusaders) with only valiant defence from Rhys Kilbride (East Leeds) and Ryan Chalkley (Eastmoor Dragons) denying a try.
Yorkshire then went down the other end. First Hullock's chip stood up ahead of Darrion Ball (Wigan St Judes) and Featherstone Lions sprightly second row Gareth Gale collected and finished from 35 metres, bouncing off Maloney in the process.
Jamie Fields (Hunslet Club Parkside) missed the conversion. It was 4-0 to Yorkshire after 23 minutes and the attritional nature of the game continued.
Lancashire responded after 32 minutes. Hullock saw his attempted clearance charged down by substitute Declan Sheridan (Rochdale Mayfield), who then secured possession.
An early pass from Zac Baker (Rochdale Mayfield) gave Gavin Rodden (Wigan St Judes) the chance to get between defenders and he popped the ball out brilliantly for Matt Norton (Thatto Heath Crusaders) to finish. Baker couldn't add the goal but there was parity at 4-all.
Kilbride was given a running chance inside the twenty only for Daniel Brown (Latchford Albion) to haul him down. The next play was crucial however as Hullock pushed the ball out to Adam Newby (Ossett Trinity), he offloaded to Jack Stewart (York Acorn) and Hullock trailed the inside for four points. Nathan Conroy (East Leeds) goaled from out wide and Yorkshire took a 10-4 lead to half-time.
An early raid by Sheridan should have brought points for Lancashire and another opportunity fell to the red rose after 52 minutes when Stewart spilled a high kick, Ethan Langhorn (Saddleworth Rangers) collected and Zac Baker actually went over on the next play only for the pass by Rochdale Mayfield team-mate Callum Ogden to be deemed forward.
The next concession of points was strange. Yorkshire kicked the ball long and Lancashire brought it out for the optional restart. The ball was tapped by Ogden and passed to Brown only for it to have been taken from the incorrect mark. Lancashire got underway again with Liam Quinn (Thatto Heath Crusaders) powering in, only for Brown to be penalised for being in front of his team-mates and offside.
Jamie Fields kicked the penalty to nudge Yorkshire 12-4 clear.
Again, Lancashire hit back with a well worked try after the hour. After running to the Yorkshire twenty, the ball came right for Haydock's Jordan Gibson. He took the ball to the defence and released it with precision for Adam Jeffries (Saddleworth Rangers) to score. Baker goaled, and it was 12-10.
A couple of minutes later Norton had a go down the left before Lancashire switched play right. Sadly, the move broke down and a couple of further chances were also lost as Lancashire went in search of points.
Yorkshire struck the crucial blow after 73 minutes. Conroy hit a midfield bomb that he chased through to collect before dabbing a kick forward again. Sadly, for Maloney he fumbled which allowed Hullock the chance to pick up and scurry over the line. Fields couldn't add the goal, but there was further late drama when Rodden drifted from left to right and kicked. St Judes team-mate Ball collected, stepped inside and passed for Rodden to go over the line but this was deemed forward.
In the final seconds Ball was sinbinned for his part in a tackle and Yorkshire plotted their way to victory.
Yorkshire: Ian Jackson, Jack Stewart, Adam Newby, Ryan Chalkley, Rhys Kilbride, Andrew Hullock, Nathan Conroy, Daniel Farrand, Dean Gamble, Jamie Fields, Gareth Gale, Mick Waite, Robin Wilks.
Substitutes: Craig McShane, Craig Savage, Jordan Williams, Dale Ellerby.
Lancashire: Thomas Maloney, Darrion Ball, Ethan Langhorn, Matthew Norton, Niall Allen, Jordan Gibson, Zac Baker (Rochdale Mayfield), Gareth Morgan, Callum Ogden (Rochdale Mayfield), Aidan Gleeson (Rochdale Mayfield), Adam Jeffries, Gavin Roddan, Liam Quinn.
Substitutes: Declan Sheridan (Rochdale Mayfield), Daniel Brown, Ryan Braddock, Andrew Lea.