Pocklington Pilgrims had a rollercoaster weekend with a great tour to the midlands that included a convincing Saturday victory, followed by a quick dash back to East Yorkshire for the merit table play-off final, which unfortunately ended in defeat.
The Pilgrims were well beaten in Sunday’s final by Marist, a very strong and pacey running side who deservedly won 45-3. On the day, having just landed from tour hardly helped, as the Pilgrims ran out of steam in the second half. But different preparations would likely have made little difference to the result.
Pilgrims played Barton under Needwood on tour on Saturday and came out victorious after an end-to-end tryfest. Juggernaut Jack Helme scored four tries, Joe Richardson crossed twice plus kicked two conversions, and man of the match Dan Elvidge thundered over for one. Chris Mudd also snuck over for a try and Niall Quinn managed five conversions.
Other notable efforts came from Mike Dangerfield, a former Mero’s stalwart who may just have been temped out of retirement for next season, and a second half cameo from former Mero’s captain Jerry Mooney, who definitely hasn’t been tempted out of retirement.
A great tour with excellent hospitality from Barton RUFC and a fabulous post game barbeque to top it off.
Despite losing in Sunday’s final, the Pilgrims have had a half decent season both on and off the pitch, and can look back proudly on a strong league campaign that saw them top the East Yorkshire Division Two Merit Table by a clear margin.
Retiring skipper and Pilgrim guru Chris Mudd has done a notable job in building a strong and committed squad of players, which should provide a good foundation for next season; especially with the likes of former Colts Jack Bond, Adam Pannett and Danny Hedges all pledging to play next year, along with Aaron Radford, another rugby league convert from York.
Mudd’s leadership, propping and organising skills will be missed, but the Pilgrims’ success this term has very much been a team effort and the skipper recorded his thanks to Tim Hughes and Alex Brown who have fronted up whenever asked, despite their advancing years, Glen O’Hara, who has added stability, and Rob Jackson who has been hung out to dry by poor protection occasionally, but has taken it on the chin and invariably salvaged something from nothing.
Final thanks went to Peter Anderson and the Mooney family who have followed the Pilgrims all season in all weathers with unswerving support.