Rugby: Season closes at Percy Road with entertaining invitational

The curtain came down on the 2012-13 rugby season at Percy Road with an entertaining invitation game in the Sunday afternoon sunshine.

Pocklington ran away with things in the first half before the President’s men came back strongly after the break.

The President’s side gave an early indication of their intentions by running a penalty from near their own line, but a Pocklington turnover put them back on the attack and from a quick tap flanker Karl Durkin burrowed through to score, Nick Bennett converting.

Still inside the first quarter, open side Jack Holbrough waltzed through from 30 yards on the left, then wing Billy Hardy bashed over on the right.

It was looking gloomy for the President’s men and things got worse as Pocklington ruthlessly exploited President’s handling errors, hooker Ben Stephenson snapping up a loose pass on halfway and sprinting to the line, then prop John-Paul Kelly getting the ball down after Ben Rees had wrestled over.

Bennett had added two more conversions but, when Kelly came up with the ball, he wasn’t letting go and duly popped over the drop goal extras to his score.

At 41-0 down, the President’s men could easily have been swamped.

Instead they were galvanised in greater efforts and their revival got underway in the closing minutes of the first half as the invitation forwards pounded up the left before the ball was swung smartly right where the President’s son, former Newcastle Falcon and ex-Pock skipper Sandy Mitchell, linked up from fullback to power over in the right corner.

But there was still time for another Pocklington strike as home lock Tom Peters galloped over with the last play of the half.

The President’s men showed further signs of improvement after the interval as they made some dangerous breaks only for handling errors to prevent a finish.

Pocklington took full advantage and hooker Stephenson burst over for his second touchdown.

Back came the President’s men prompted by the deft touches of Malton scrum half Tom Boyle and former Leeds Carnegie centre Mike Cawthorn.

A good break down the right ended with a try for flying Driffield wing Lester Bell, then another quick fire attack on the right flank saw Driffield’s Yorkshire Under-20 back row Alex Cullen charge over.

Though the President’s men were now in ascendancy, Pocklington were still not finished and an inside switch sent wing Bennett accelerating through the middle, adding his fifth conversion of the day to his try.

But the President’s men had the last word as Bell was sent sprinting clear on the right wing before cutting back to score under the posts for Sheffield Medics’ fly half Joe Knight to add the conversion.

Final score: Pock 1sts XV 52, President’s XV 22