Pocklington Under-16s tested on tour

Pocklington Under 16s went south on tour at the weekend, visiting Wembley on Saturday to be part of a world record crowd for a club match watching Saracens v Harlequins.

This was followed by a fixture with Towcester on the Sunday where Pocklington recorded an excellent 18-15 win against good opponents.

Saturday was a long but enjoyable day, finishing with a late evening court session involving lads and parents being judged on their misdemeanours of the year.

Sunday morning saw a tired squad crawl onto the bus for the journey to Towcester, a strong East Midlands premier league club.

Boots on and the lads woke up with a lively warm up session to be ready to face an efficient looking Towcester outfit.

From the kick off ,Pocklington took the ball forward with Watson and Taylor carrying strongly into contact, and with good support Proctor was able to control the play from scrum half.

Early exchanges were pretty even with both teams playing open rugby.

It soon became apparent that Pocklington’s strong back line of Richardson, Wilson and Barber were going to cause the home team problems and, after 10 minutes, Richardson’s pace saw him break the Towcester line then round the fullback for the first score of the day.

Further Pock pressure forced a penalty 30 yards out. Smith, deputising as kicker for the day, thumped the penalty against a strong wind for another three points in clinical fashion.

Towcester came back with their wingers trying to find ways around the Pock centres and a heavy front five looking to drive forward at any opportunity.

And, after intense pressure, Towcester took advantage of their forwards’ efforts to spread the ball wide five yards out to stretch the defence and go over for their first try.

From the restart Towcester went back on the attack and what started out as some unorthodox defence - the ball being passed through hands on their own line - turned into Pock’s try of the season.

The Pocklington backs ran the ball out into contact on the halfway line, a good clear out gave Proctor time to again find his backs who fired the ball down the line at pace with winger Leiby finally going in at the corner.

Just about every Pocklington player had a part in the try which brought huge applause from both sets of spectators.

The first half was coming to an end with Pock well on top and in the final minutes of the half a driving maul put Ingle over only to be held up by the Towcester defence, leaving the score 13 – 5 to Pocklington at the break.

The second half started with Towcester on top and their pacey wingers were starting to find gaps in the Pocklington defence.

However, the ever-dependable Jackson dealt with any intruder with his usual crunching tackles.

After 15 minutes, Towcester pulled off a short lineout move from ten yards out which bewildered the Pock defence and allowed them to go over to narrow the margin.

With the game becoming an intense and hard battle both teams threw everything into it.

Good work by Collins, Cartwight and Whittington was continuing to give Proctor ball, which he utilised well to create chances.

After 20 minutes, possession was secured in midfield and the ball was quickly moved through hands to Wilson who used his strength to break the line and crash over for a try and take to score to 18 – 10, seemingly out of reach of Towcester.

However, the home team would not surrender and piled on the pressure.

Smith and Rhodes worked overtime in contact to stem the attacks, but eventually the pressure told and, after a series of penalties for handling in the ruck, the Towcester winger caught the defence cold and went over for their third try, the conversion dramatically hitting the post to deny a further two points.

Pocklington managed to hold out for the last five minutes to secure an impressive result 18-15 with both teams playing excellent rugby.

Both clubs then continued to play for a further 30 minutes ensuring all the lads got good game time with some Pock players also playing for Towcester.

Good rugby continued to be played in a great spirit with Pocklington continuing to look strong up front with Carlton and Allan causing problems for Towcester defence, and Omally and Aconley providing good ball to the backs.

Pock’s eventual downfall was the pace of the home team’s right winger who ran in two tries from his own half.

The day ended with the two teams engaging in some good banter and a 10 man boat race which the home team narrowly won. All agreed it had been one of the most hospitable clubs visited and a good rugby test for the lads.