Rugby league: Mayfield 20 - 0 York Acorn

Date published: 26 March 2024

A strong Mayfield side showed just why they will be up there come the end of the season. Strengthened by the return of Zac Baker, Joe Taira, Sean Slater, Reece Hamlett and Lewis Butterworth, Mayfield put in their best performance of the season so far, with this win over a big tough York Acorn side.

From the start it was evident that defence was going to be on top as both sides put in some absolutely brutal tackles. Reece Hamlett, Zac Baker and Joe Taira were massive as they laid the ground for their teammates, every player on the pitch stepped up to do their share with no one shying away from the graft, and that's what it was, sheer graft.

It wasn't perfect for the home side as they gave away repeat penalties in their own 20 to put themselves under pressure. Scrambling defence right across the meadow meant that, try as they might, Acorn could not get over the Mayfield line. Ben Metcalfe, Cole Connolly, Jordan Parr, James Duffyand Elijah Ponton saw to that, guarding their territory like sentinels. With 15 minutes on the clock, the forwards worked their way up field and Metcalfe was desperately unlucky not to score as he took the ball across the line from a Dev Long chip. It took 22 minutes for Mayfield to breach the Acorn line after Ponton, Taira and Dakota Tolhurst had put them in the danger zone, a superb cross field move saw Lewis Butterworth force his way over in the corner, the conversion was missed, 4 - 0.

Mayfield continued to take a grip on the game and a brilliant chase from Duffy, from a Dev Long kick, forced a penalty five metres from the Acorn line. Another Long kick at the end of the set saw the Acorn defence unable to deal with it and the ever alert Sam Wright pounced to double his sides lead, the conversion was again unsuccessful, 8 - 0.

Try saving tackles from the ever improving Duffy and Tolhurst saw to it that the visitors couldn't get the all important score before half time. York were definitely frustrated at being kept scoreless and badgered the referee at every opportunity instead of just getting on with it and playing rugby.

The second half saw Acorn lift their game and it looked for a while as though they might get something for their efforts, and against most teams they would have done, but not Mayfield, not today. The conditions by now were atrocious, with driving wind and rain and it took a supreme effort from Mayfield to keep Acorn out.

Mayfield again took hold of the game and it's fair to say they were now dominating the York forwards. The Mayfield pack were outstanding and the backs made the most of the possession. A superb break from Butterworth deserved better, but the final pass to the supporting Parr was adjudged to have gone forward. Sean Slater and Sam Wright were now causing problems all over the pitch and Butterworth again capitalised as he took the ball and executed a brilliant finish to extend the lead further, Parr added the two this time, 14 - 0.

York continued to show their class as they tried everything to get that elusive first score but the home defence showed time and again they were more than a match for a very physical York attack. They must have thought they'd broken their duck as their half back, from close range, fired a kick towards Butterworth. Butty once more showed why he was missed so much while he was out injured, as he calmly collected the kick and ghosted 20 metres away from the line.

The crowd were revelling in this game as the blue and whites continued to take the game to the opposition. With five to go Mayfield compounded their domination of the visiting forwards when York were awarded a scrum on their own 15, Mayfield, in a move rarely seen these days pushed the York scum back 10 metres, right over the loose forward who had just picked up the ball. Needless to say, he lost possession and from the second play of the ball the irrepressible Connolly stole over from acting half for a try which had the crowd on their feet, Parr again added the two to complete the scoring, 20 - 0.


Lewis Butterworth smiles as he scores on his return
Lewis Butterworth smiles as he scores on his return


The score line may sound like a comfortable win but it was anything but. There is no doubt that Acorn are a quality side and they won't lose many games this season but on the day Mayfield were just to good for them, from 1 to 17.

Coaches Sam Butterworth and Steve Wood were over the moon, not just with the win but with the fact that York had not been allowed to cross the whitewash. As Butterworth said: "To nil a team at any level in rugby league takes some doing, but at this level it is a supreme effort. I am well happy with today's performance, we should have scored a couple more but I'm happy with how we performed.

"We are a team that wants to play rugby and once the weather improves and the grounds firm up we will show what we are all about, and if we take that level of commitment and defence into the better conditions who knows what we are capable of.

"The conditions today were terrible and I would like to thank the fans who turned out to watch the game. I can't tell you how much it means to us as a team to look up and see a good crowd, it makes you want to do better, and I think we did that today. Also the sponsors, a big part of amateur sport is getting sponsorship to help with the massive running costs incurred week in week out. Today we had two lots of sponsors there was long time supporter of the club Gavin Reynolds and Recruitment Solutions plus Carl Bennion and Precision Recruitment, many thanks to both of them."

As always in games like this the sponsors were split on their man of the match choices, Recruitment Solutions went for double try scorer Lewis Butterworth while Precision Rercruitment opted for the tireless Elijah Ponton.

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