Hornsea produced their most hard-working performance of the season against a useful York side to claim a superb victory and end the month of January unbeaten.
Hornsea were hampered somewhat before kick-off with illness, seeing the withdrawal of prop forward Andrew Salvidge and centre James Hill, leaving coach Jonty Ashton having to rejig his side.
The match started well for Hornsea, and following some forward drives into the York 22, the ball was shipped out by Adie Wadforth and Tim Roberts to centre James Baker who crashed through two tackles to score under the posts, Roberts converted to give Hornsea a 7-0 lead.
York came to life following the Hornsea score and after working the ball downfield after winning possession, they were in a useful position when Hornsea were penalised for coming in from the side. York opted to kick for goal which was pulled wide by their fly half.
From the resultant drop-out, and for the next five minutes or so, sustained York pressure saw them eventually break the Hornsea defensive line, with them scoring wide out. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving the score at 7-5 to Hornsea.
Hornsea were next on the scoresheet, this time with a Tim Roberts drop goal – the first drop goal scored by a Hornsea player for three or four seasons. Roberts struck the ball cleanly through the uprights, which he was to do throughout the match, with a faultless kicking display seeing him successful with all five of his kicks at goal – 10-5.
With half an hour gone on the clock, the game took a twist, when following a late tackle by Phil Walker and an ensuing fracas, Hornsea saw themselves down two players as Walker was yellow-carded and centre James Baker was red-carded by the referee, with no cards shown to any York players, much to the disbelief of the onlooking touchline crowd.
Hornsea now knew they would have to give everything to keep out York, certainly for the next 10 minutes two men down, with Walker due to return to the pitch just into the second half. The Hornsea players tackled like their lives depended on it. David Ashbridge, captain Ed Webster and Dan Wilkinson were outstanding thwarting York attacks, and even with a two-man advantage York were unable to penetrate the Hornsea line and the Hollismen played out the final 10 minutes of the half without conceding a point.
Half-time: Hornsea 10, York RI 5
York started the second half in determined fashion, and although Hornsea had been boosted by the return of Phil Walker, York still had an extra man, which they used well just four minutes into the second half, creating an overlap and scoring out wide to bring the scores level, 10-10.
From the restart Hornsea won the ball and some pick and goes followed by a half-break by flying winger Andy Finch that saw the Hollismen work towards the York 22. York were penalised at the breakdown, and although wide out, Roberts confidently took on the kick at goal which he stroked over to regain the lead for Hornsea, 13-10.
The numbers were evened up not long after the restart as a York player saw yellow for a high tackle – this gave Hornsea an opportunity to use the ball more out wide, which they did, with Roberts and Wadforth dictating play for the remainder of the match.
Liam Tudor Bateman got the next all-important score of the match, when he stepped inside beating two defenders after lock-forward Dan Wilkinson had made a terrific arcing break downfield before putting Tudor Bateman in space. Roberts converted to take Hornsea two scores clear, 20:10.
Hornsea’s Adie Wadforth, always in the thick of the action, capped off a fine man of the match display, scoring his third try of the season as he ran a support line off Tudor Bateman, received the ball and shot through a gap to score, which Roberts again converted to move the scoreline further in Hornsea’s favour at 27-10.
For the final five minutes, with York back at a full compliment, they were awarded a penalty try in the last play of the game as Hornsea were penalised at a scrum five yards from their try line. As they were understandably tiring, the try was converted and the final whistle was blown to finish the match with Hornsea winning 27-17.
An outstanding display by the whole 19-man squad saw Hornsea home. Depleted in numbers for 50 minutes they continuously put their bodies on the line, making tackle after tackle and playing as such a strong unit together, which ultimately saw them take the points.
Speaking after the match, captain Ed Webster was jubilant although exhausted. He said: “There will be some aching bodies tomorrow. I haven’t seen the lads put in a shift like that for a long time. The workrate and commitment shown was outstanding. We defended so resolutely, and when we needed to, and got the opportunity, we showed how clinical we can be in attack.”
Tries: Baker, Tudor Bateman, Wadforth. Conversions: Roberts 3. Penalties: Roberts. Drop goal: Roberts.