Wed 06 Dec 2017 08:43

Pocklington once again gave it a real go only to come up short at Billingham, where they dominated for the first half hour before ending well beaten 50-10.

The scoreline does scant justice to Pocklington's considerable efforts. They took the game to Billingham for long periods, but they failed to turn pressure into points then saw the home side turn the tide and grab two tries at the end of the first half to lead 12-3 at the break. Pocklington also had to endure a heavy 3:1 penalty count against them in the second period and Billingham took full advantage with some expansive handling and clinical finishing to pull clear to a convincing win.

Pocklington opened up with some ferocious tackling and strong carries and Jonty Peters kicked a towering 40 metre goal to open the scoring.

Pocklington remained on the front foot, flanker Owen Jackson made an outstanding break before being dragged down a yard short, only for Pock to waste the resultant attacking five metre scrum. More opportunities followed but after weathering the Pocklington storm the home side off-loaded to score on their first real attack on 35 minutes. Billingham were suddenly in the ascendancy, and added a second try six minutes into first half stoppage time.

Having scored twice before the break Billingham showed quick hands to unleash their lively backs on the restart and in no time had crossed twice more to pull clear. Billingham are well versed in throwing the ball about on their wide, plastic pitch and some slick threequarter play, plus regular quick tap penalties, continued to pay dividends.

Pocklington still had their moments and they stuck at it and into the last ten minutes the back row peeled blind from a scrum, skipper Ben Rees took it on and his delayed pass saw fullback Ben Thoy gallop to the line for a consolation score, Peters converting.

Pocklington finished gamely and strongly attacking down both flanks, but once again the raids were halted by penalties and Billingham cleared to close out the game.

The happiest man at Billingham was their club chairman, Mark Armstrong. He started his rugby career as a scrum half at Archbishop Holgate's GS and Pocklington RUFC before moving to the north-east where he has been Billingham chairman for 15 years. And he sponsored Saturday's game, inviting and entertaining several of his former Pocklington colleagues of the 1980s.

Back at Feathers Field a dominant performance by the Panthers pack saw them beat Sandal 31-8 and leapfrog over them into second place in the Yorkshire Championship South table.

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