Yorkshire matched a well-organised Lancashire side for the first 40 minutes of a hugely entertaining county championship fixture in front of a record turnout of 2,023 at Scarborough RUFC’s Silver Royd HQ turning round on level terms at 21-21.
However after the break the visitors cut loose running in five second half tries to continue their unbeaten run in this year’s competition.
The Lancashire pack bossed the opening forward exchanges and drove deep into Yorkshire territory; however the Tykes scrambling defence coped and having cleared their lines took the game to the visitors.
A superb bullocking run from diminutive open side flanker Dan Solomi took the game deep into red rose territory setting up his fly-half Tom Barrett who chipped over a flat defence, gathered a kindly bounce and scored between the uprights. The Yorkshire number ten added the extras for a 7-0 lead in the eighth minute.
The Yorkshire lead was short lived however and when Lancs centre Chris Briers made a superb break from midfield, scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe was on hand to release fly-half Chris Johnson who galloped over and converted his own effort to level the scores in the 11th minute.
Lancashire had the lion’s share of possession thanks to their hard working pack and only some great Yorkshire defending kept them at bay but when No eight Dominic Moon almost drove over from an attacking lineout in the 26th minute the ball was recycled and open-side flanker Evan Stewart barged over.
Johnson converted for 14-7. Lancashire looked dangerous every time they were in possession particularly in the backs and it was no surprised when turbo charged left wing Oliver Brennand from Fylde outpaced the Yorkshire defence to score wide on the left. Johnson’s touchline conversion stretched the lead to 21-7 in the 35th minute.
A late flurry of scoring from Yorkshire saw first centre Steve Hamilton then right wing Steve Broadley cross in the 38th and 40th minutes respectively. Barrett converted both to level the score 21-21 at the break.
Lancashire took control from the re-start and with clean ball produced by their pack; fly-half Johnson was taking on the Yorkshire back row with relish.
The powerful number 10 shrugged off a couple on tackles in the 50th minute, double sidestepped two defenders and released Brennand to scamper down the left touchline, outpace the pedestrian Yorks defence and score in the corner. Johnson added the conversion for 28-21.
Yorkshire stuck gamely to their task and did win a couple of penalties in the visitor’s half to no avail before Lancashire cut loose running in three tries without reply in 12 minutes; Steward crossing unconverted in the 56th minute before Brennand added his third and fourth touchdowns in the 60th and 68th minutes. Johnson converted both to put the game beyond Yorshire’s reach at 47-21.
With ten tries already scored the big Silver Royd crowd would I’m sure have been satisfied with that; however a marvellous afternoon’s rugby was rounded of in style when Yorkshire’s man-of-the-match Dan Solomi of Wharfedale lifted the Yorkshire fans with a great individual effort in the 71st minute. Barrett reduced the arrears at 54-28 with his conversion.
Huddersfield’s Chris Johnson, the Lancashire man-of-the match rounded off a great personal performance with a try which he converted himself five minutes later before Otley’s Christian Georgiou at fullback had the final word for Yorkshire crossing in injury time to cut the deficit to 21 points as the visitors ran out well deserved 54-33 winners.
In the end Lancashire had too much strength and pace for a hard working Yorkshire side which still managed to score five tries in defeat.
It was a disappointing day for the Tykes but a triumph of organization and attention to detail for their hosts Scarborough RUFC.
* Yorkshire: Georgiou Broadley Dench (capt) Hamilton Wilson Barrett White Harris Hanhan Hooper Hayter Kench Jones Solomi Paul
* Lancashire: Armstrong Soutar Briers Kenyon Brennand Johnson De La Harpe Birchal Loney Morton McGowan (capt) Ferguson Rawlings Stewart Moon
* Scarborough Evening News man-of-the-match: Chris Johnson (Lancashire)