Ferguson holds nerve to ensure East Yorkshire honours are even

A TENSION-PACKED local derby saw Hull Ionians stage an excellent second-half comeback to score a converted try in the closing stages to make it East Riding honours even after the Hull forwards could not maintain their dominance of the first 30 minutes.

Hull made a strong start using their forward power and, after 15 minutes, a penalty forced an attacking line-out and Scott Plevey was driven over, Greg Lound converting.

Too many penalties set Hull back – conceding 11 against four in the first half – but a stolen line-out forced an attacking scrum from which the ball was chipped through and Guy Martinson won the race to score, Lound converting.

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Yet another penalty saw Rob Devonshire sent to the sin bin and Hull Ionians took advantage from a five-metre scrum. Adam Thomas was held just short but Ed Rhodes dived in to score his first try for the club on his first start, James Ferguson converting.

Ionians were now playing running rugby but the Hull defence just held firm.

Hull started the second half well and, following a series of penalties, Ionians lost Rob Kench to the sin-bin and Hull drove Adi Longbone in for try.

The rest of the match was mostly played in the Hull half.

Ionians were now moving the ball well and both Oli Marns and Will Heylings made powerful runs which so nearly brought tries.

They did add points through a penalty from Ferguson before a yellow card for Hull captain Chris Murphy saw Ionians pound the line again, Tom Rice finally diving over.

An isolated Hull raid off a deep kick earned a penalty which Lound kicked to take them seven points clear but Sam Wilson ran the ball back for Ionians, only to be tackled at the line where sustained support resulted in Joe Sanders crashing between the posts for Ferguson to convert and draw the match. The result left Hull as Yorkshire’s top club in the divison. They are in seventh place on 70 points, 16 points clear of Ionians, who are 11th.

Defeat by second-placed Leicester left Morley deep in relegation trouble but while they trail nearest rivals Nuneaton by 13 points, they have two games in hand, a better points difference and they meet them at the weekend so their fate is in their own hands.

Bradley Marshall went over to put Morley in front after 16 minutes but silly mistakes allowed Lions to pick up three tries before the break and turn round 21-7 ahead.

Another Morley error allowed the visitors to grab a fourth try 10 minutes into the second half and they had extended their lead to 40-7 with five minutes to go.

A well-judged crossfield kick was picked up by substitute winger Simon Bradshaw to score and convert his own try from the touchline.

However, there was still time for one last run from the second-placed visiting team, who rounded off the game with probably the pick of the scores, a classy bit of interchanging bamboozling the home defence, who will have to tighten up at the weekend if they are to stay in National Two.

They are third from bottom, 19 points clear of Rugby Lions, who have played two games more, and 13 adrift of Nuneaton.

Youth to the fore as injuries to key men costs Harrogate dear

Injuries and unavailabilities forced Harrogate to travel to Kendal without four key players.

The absentees were badly missed but Kendal deservedly won and the result should ensure that both clubs will play each other again in National Two next season.

Harrogate had a dream start when their forwards turned over possession and Kyle Dench started an incisive backs move before second-row Gareth Lodge gathered the ball at the breakdown, shrugged off attempted tackles and powered through the midfield for an outstanding try. Rob Almond converted.

A high tackle then gave Kendal’s Mark Ireland his first penalty and with Kendal consistently breaking the first tackle, centre Ben Robinson broke and prop Iain Hudson, supported well to score a converted try.

Harrogate lost another key player when experienced centre, Sam Bottomley had to depart with a badly broken nose.

He was replaced by Luke Edwards who played well along with the other youngsters, Almond, Toby Quarendon and Pete Lucock.

Kendal second-row Liam Hayton then backed up another powerful midfield attack and scored near the posts to give Ireland a straightforward conversion.

Their next try came from hooker Duncan Green and Ireland kicked another penalty before Almond’s silky break gave Edwards space on the right wing to go almost the length of the field before being tackled into touch.

Kendal illegally prevented a quick throw-in and Harrogate set up a driving maul from the subsequent penalty. Hooker Aarin Yorke squirmed through the home defence for a converted try to make it 25-14 at the interval.

A driving maul led to another try for Hayton after the break but Harrogate responded through a dazzling run from Quarendon and Almond was on hand to weave past the remaining defenders for an excellent try. Ireland kicked another penalty to make it 35-19 but Harrogate continued to play attacking rugby only for a counter-attack from defence leading to a pass being intercepted by Kendal winger Dan Lowther, who strolled over to score.

Harrogate continued to attack and Jake Brady was forced into touch just short. In the last move of the match, Harrogate turned a Kendal defensive scrum and were awarded the put-in at the next one. Ryan Peacey drove strongly from the base to score and Almond’s conversion ended the match.

Winger James Wood and No 8 Nick Sharp each claimed a hat-trick as Huddersfield romped past the division’s basement side.

After the tension of the previous week’s 13-10 win over high-flying Loughborough Students, this was something of a carnival day out in the sun and the only disappointment from the visitors’ point of view was that they allowed Manchester to score 20 points for only the fourth time this season.

Huddersfield led 48-20 at the break and they managed to blank the home side in the second half. With tries continuing to come almost too thick and fast to count they reached 75-20 with 10 minutes to go and they continued to pile on the pressure.

In the dying stages, Chris Johnson went over and he duly struck the conversion to put his side to 101 points, the third side in the division to hit the century against Manchester and the first to do it on their own ground.