Acorn 36 Ince Rose Bridge 18
Acorn virtually assured themselves a spot in the end of season promotion play offs
York Acorn virtually assured themselves a spot in the end of season promotion play offs, when beating one of their nearest rivals - in form Ince Rosebridge 36 - 18 at home.
A win that sees them stay in fourth spot, just three points behind third placed side Milford and 3 points in front of fifth placed outfit Lock Lane.
But most importantly, they are now 6 points clear of 7th placed side and today's vanquished opponents Ince Rosebridge with just 3 games to go.
You do the maths and only a freak set of results will see them miss out on the play offs , but Acorn are after a home tie and on this form , they are serious contenders.
You often here people say, it was a game of 2 halves. Well on this occasion, this match was a game of three parts.
The first part was the opening 30 minutes, when Acorn raced into a comfortable 18 - 0 lead, before the second stage came into play.
That period went from just before half time to 15 minutes into second half, when Ince found the momentum to hit back and knock Acorn out of their stride to such an extent that they had drawn level at 18 apiece before the 3rd quarter mark.
The third and final part of the game , saw Acorn regroup themselves and then blow Ince away with some memorable rugby late on.
Acorn went into this game, without several of their players due to wedding commitments etc and it was one of those replacements - full back and MOTM Mark Sanderson who got Acorn off to an excellent start when he crashed over for a 2nd minute try to which center Brandon Harris added the extras- putting Acorn in to an early 6- 0 lead.
The position had been set up, when first Ince made an error from the kick off and then from an attacking scrum heel , prop Tim Stubbs went on a storming run before the ball was switched from right to left and Sanderson did the rest.
Acorn increased their lead to 10 - 0 on 22 minutes when a dangerous looking Ince attack was thwarted , when second rower Reece Rushworth charged down an Ince attacking kick close to the Acorn try line before he re-gathered and raced 80m down the Acorn left to score an unconverted try.
Acorn then moved into a two score lead, by virtue of a 27th minute penalty goal from the influential Harris.
Minutes later and Acorn were on the scoreboard once again, when full back Sanderson powered through 2 would be tacklers before offloading to the supporting Harris who crossed for a try he himself converted to put Acorn 18 -0 in front.
At this juncture Acorn possibly thought the game was in their hands , but the warning bells should have made them refocus for the second half following a last minute try by their man of the match, loose forward Chris Boylan to which second rower Rob Valentine added the extras to give the visitors a foothold in this game at 18-6 down.
The opening stages of the second half was a very poor period indeed for the hosts as they missed tackle after tackle, as well as dropping too much ball then compounded it by getting pinged for the first time in this encounter for several penalty related issues.
The visitors were ravenous and were eager to gorge on Acorns out of sorts bones and they hit back with Trys on 43 minutes through full back Peter Valentine following a high cross field kick which Illuded the Acorn defenders and then on 46 minutes Boylan opened the Acorn defence with ease to stride under the posts for a try.
Both tries were converted by the dead eye boot of Rob Valentine to level the scores up amazingly at 18 apiece with virtually a full second half to still play.
At this juncture, Acorn were struggling to close down the visitors dangerous attacking game and the momentum seemed to well and truly be with the visitors.
Fortunately for Acorn they managed to stem the tide and in fact more importantly they got the all important momentum shifting next score.
When on 58 minutes the reliable passing combination play between half backs ,stand off Lewis Lord and scrum half Lewis Brown ended with the latter sending captain Tom Hill flying through a gap from 20 yards out for a try which replacement goal kicker Dan Lazenby added the extras to - putting Acorn 24 - 18 in front with a quarter of the game to go.
A 62nd minute Lazenby penalty goal for a high shot, saw Acorn edge further clear at 26 - 18 in front.
Then came the games magic moment for Acorn and in particular teenage second rower Reece Rushworth, who went from villain to hero in 30 seconds.
First he was guilty of a slightly late hit on former Warrington Super League forward Paul Woods close to the Acorn try line, that had the ex pro fired up and ready to take the ball straight at Rushworth from the tap penalty.
This he did , but if he thought he would find Rushworth an easy target to run over, he was greatly mistaken - as it was initially Rushworth who put Woods to the floor with a perfectly timed front on tackle before eventually been aided by several team mates.
The ball popped out and the referee somewhat harshly adjudged it to be a rip.
Acorns defence, and in particular Rushworth earned their spurs in that moment as the visitors put the ball through the hands from the resulting penalty and two tackles later they spilt the ball and with it went any chance of another comeback.
The next score came on 72 minutes, when Lewis Lord squeezed in at the corner after picking the ball up from the acting half role to put the hosts 30 - 18 in front.
Acorn were now rampant and a thunderous break by prop forward Jack Byrne's, that saw him race 40m before falling to a last ditch tackle , set up the position close to the opponents try line and from the resulting quick play the ball - the ball was handed on to Brown who in turn sent Harris in for a 76th minute try ,which the latter himself added the conversion to rounding off an excellent 36 - 18 home win.
Others to catch the eye for the Blue & Golds were loose forward Tim Elliott, centre Jordan Myers, props Adam Endersby & Jack Byrne's (esp in the second half)...
Next up for Acorn is a trip away at play off hopefuls Normanton Knights....