WHITBY Rugby Club’s under 17s travelled to York with only 15 players - after several last minute call-offs, they had to draft in Adam Swalewell from the under 16s and he went on to acquit himself very well.
Whitby had to start the game with several players playing out of positions.
York began with a very aggressive style of rugby and for the first 10 minutes, put Whitby under pressure and kept them in their own 22.
This pressure resulted in York being awarded a penalty which they scored.
Whitby gradually started to return York’s pressure, meeting their aggression with their own. Whitby were looking dangerous, especially when the ball reached wingers Matt Kendrew and Josh Clough.
The new center pairing of Charlie Ashford and Jack Braithwaite were finding holes in the York defence, Sam Webster found plenty of spaces with his tactical kicking and any York break was snuffed out by some outstanding tackling from Steven Cuthbert.
However, York’s defence stood up to anything Whitby could throw at them until the young Maroons were awarded a penalty which Sam Webster converted.
Whitby were now spending the majority of the time in the York half and were trying hard to find a way through the York defence.
Adam Nixon was winning great lineout ball and twice, Whitby thought they had scored first. Jack Braithwaite was judged to have grounded the ball just short of the line.
Steven Cuthbert was unlucky when the referee decided he could not award the try as he wasn’t certain the ball had been grounded.
But Whitby were rewarded with a penalty from Connor Clennan, while the inspirational stand-off, Sam Webster was off the pitch with a blood injury.
This brought the half-time to 6-3.
The second half started with Whitby taking the game to York. Whitby’s front five Mitch Eglon, Ryan Skidmore, James Newton, Josh Shutt and Bruce Reed were proving far too strong for the York pack, overpowering them in the scrum and dominating the rucks and mauls.
Whitby were wearing the York team down. Any break they did make was quickly stopped by Joe Lenton who quickly turned defence into attack, breaking quickly from full back.
Halfway through the second half, Whitby were awarded another penalty scored by Sam Webster. Whitby continued to dominate but were unable to make any further breakthrough.
In the end, Whitby were worthy winners of a hard-fought encounter
Penalties: Sam Webster 2, Connor Clennan.
Man of the match: Sam Webster, for his outstanding kicking and all-round game and Steven Cuthbert, for his best game since returning from injury.
Whitby U17s 9 York U17s 3