The 2020-21 local rugby union season finally got going as Pocklington entertained York on Saturday at Feathers Field.
Pocklington ran out 40-21 winners after being behind at the break; but the occasion was far more important than the result as players and supporters put a 14-month wait behind them to enjoy a nine-try entertaining encounter that swung one way then the other. It was not quite normal service being resumed, as the adapted regulations meant no scrums or mauls, while the crowd of a couple of hundred had to remain seated at tables of six. But tap penalties replacing scrums meant the action was fast and furious, with the first half seeing each side cross three times, York's three conversions to Pocklington's two giving them a 19-21 interval advantage.
The opening exchanges saw Pocklington concede a spate of breakdown penalties, then redeem themselves with key turnovers. And another tackle steal on halfway in the 11th minute was the prelude to home prop Andrew Kere-Rako galloping 30 yards to the corner to celebrate his 21st birhday with the first score of the game and the season, Christian Pollock converting.
York were soon level as Pocklington made a mess of fielding a chip over behind their own line as York fullback Sam Elliot followed up to get the touchdown, Liam Hessay converting. Pock pack pressure, with No 8 Andy Little leading the charge, ended with flanker Jack Holbrough plunging under the posts, Pollock converting; but York lock, Tom Hicks, soon blasted over at the other end for a debut try, Hessay adding the extras for 14-14.
It remained end to end fare as home wing Charlie Laudage crossed on the left only to be brought back for an earlier infringement, and York breaking 80 yards down the opposite flank to send Elliot sprinting over for his second score, Hessay's third conversion putting his side ahead for the first time. And York held onto a half-time lead despite Richie Kaisia's midfield offload giving centre partner Josh Britton the space to squeeze over at the left flag for an unconverted Pocklington try.
Both sides brought on their bench, and it was all York for the first quarter of an hour of the second period with teenage fly half Joe Lawrence and returning forward Grayson McGuire showing up well. York battered at the home line through backs and forwards, but determined defence saw Pocklington keep the visitors at bay before turning the tables with two quick-fire tries in as many minutes. Pollock lead a breakout from deep in his own territory, and after the homesters went close in the left corner they swung the ball wide right for wing Tom Richardson to cross. And they scored again from the restart as replacement wing Michael Gilbank was set free to outpace the cover on the left, Pollock's two conversions giving Pocklington clear water. Pocklington then pulled clear with their sixth try of the afternoon, Pollock making the initial break and kicking the final conversion after replacement scrum half, Rob Boddy, had burst free to dive over for his senior debut score.
Pocklington play again next Saturday (8 May) when they are at home to Goole, Covid restrictions on supporters are still in place, table enquiries to Allen Clovis on 07743 791216.
Pic: Pocklington's Andrew Kere-Rako scores the first try of the local 2020-21 rugby union season.