President’s XV 20
Pocklington suffered a rare defeat as a keenly-contested invitation game brought down the curtain for the 2010-11 season at Percy Road.
When Pocklington edged 12-10 ahead early in the second half they were expected to go on and close out the game. But they were unable to find any pattern or rhythm, and the President’s men used their guile and experience up front and youth and pace behind to disrupt Pocklington’s forward effort then hit them on the counter.
The President’s men took an early lead as former Otley and Yorkshire threequarter, Danny Smith, burst away from a pack tap penalty huddle to score the first try.
Pocklington regained the initiative but the handling errors that caused them problems all afternoon surfaced on the quarter hour when they twice looked likely to score only for the last pass to go to ground.
Aggressive rucking from prop Chris Morton and big hits from scrum half Ben Rees kept Pocklington on the front foot, but a series of penalty awards and some determined tackling ensured the President’s side kept their lead to the break.
The second half opened with a flurry of handling errors, with the President’s men first to show with a kick and chase to the corner.
Pocklington then produced their best handling of the day with a raid down the right flank from halfway that saw elusive fullback Charlie Allen combine with rumbustious wing Dan Pickard to send No 8 Karl Durkin striding clear to the flag.
However, the President’s side were soon back in front as former Premiership lock and Pocklington coach, Mick Watson, won a lineout 25 yards out on the left and the ball went along the line for teenage York centre Eddie Bradshaw, the latest of the Bradshaw rugby dynasty that produced three generations of Pocklington players, to outpace the defence and make it to the corner.
Morton and Rees were prominent with a couple of home charges before Pocklington went ahead for the first time. Joe Holbrough, who had moved from centre to fly half in a back reshuffle, bamboozled his multi-coloured opponents with a show and go that saw him stroll under the posts and convert.
On a day where errors had the most telling impact, the game’s most crucial phase then saw the President’s men come out on top. First, the President’s side took advantage of a couple of misdirected home clearance kicks to run the ball back.
Pocklington held firm as the President’s team tried to rumble over from two five yard scrums, then Pocklington suddenly broke from their own line with a thrilling attack – only to again drop the ball after steaming 80 yards up the left.
The President’s men took full advantage of the let off and Eddie Bradshaw produced a remarkable score as his strength and pace took him through the heart of the home defence on a 60 yard diagonal charge to the corner, with Pocklington also guilty of helping him on his way as they stood off a couple of tackles.
The other Bradshaw brother, Mike, was forced into the flag as the President’s men looked to pull clear. But Pocklington had most of the play in the last quarter of an hour, with Allen always looking to counter attack from the back and Jack Holbrough starting to find more space in midfield.
However, the President’s forwards kept going in the heat and craftily prevented the home pack from establishing a platform in either loose or set; leaving the game to meander to a close with a series of Pocklington attacks that promised much but never quite came to fruition.