Whitby rue ‘Curate’s egg’ display in county trophy

Anthoney Craig receives his most improved player award, for the second season running, from Pete Graham of sponsors Jewson's.
Anthoney Craig receives his most improved player award, for the second season running, from Pete Graham of sponsors Jewson's.

On a sunny afternoon, Whitby travelled to Knaresborough for a Yorkshire Silver Trophy tie with a mixed team of first and second team players.

There were a lot of youngsters in the side mainly due to unavailability of senior players.

Whitby started well and playing uphill into a stiff breeze, dominated the opening 15 minutes with number eight Matt Russell to the fore.

Some good build-up play saw the ball swung out to the backs on the right hand side who had a three on one overlap, only for the crucial pass to go astray. This let the sole defender sprint down the full length of the pitch to score a breakaway try.

Whitby continued to be well in the game but as decision making became more erratic and bad options were taken, they invited pressure back on themselves, indicative of this were four missed touches from their own 22.

Josh Wilson and Mitch Cannon were putting their bodies on the line with good defensive tackling but Whitby were unable to breakout.

Knaresborough, aided by the wind and slope, took over and scored four tries to lead 26-0 at half-time, a strange score to what had been a very even half.

The second half started like the first with Whitby on top and they should have scored in the first five minutes when another overlap was butchered by the backs.

Skipper Matt Russell had moved up to the front row and this had a galvanising effect, steadying the scrum and bringing much-needed aggression. Good pressure saw Whitby camped in the home 22 and from a series of quick tap penalties, centre Mitch Cannon blasted over, with Pete Stentiford converting.

With the Maroons now in the ascendancy, the kick-off was caught by debutant Neil Waterfield who embarked on a superb 50m run down the field, beating six players.

Unfortunately, no-one got on his shoulder to take the final pass, however the ball was recycled and eventually it led to a try out wide from wing forward Anthoney Craig, again well converted by Stentiford.

Knaresborough scored again after a large brawl erupted in the Whitby 22. Soon after, it all kicked off again and a home player was dismissed for foul play having thrown a haymaker. Whitby were left to reflect on a Curate’s Egg of a performance with much of their toil undone by wrong option taking. Backs wise, the positives were a strong performance by Mitch Cannon at centre who showed he can play at this level and good defence by full back Ollie Roberts.In the forwards, Neil Waterfield looks to have huge potential when he learns the game, Shane Young tackled well and Anthoney Craig stood out at seven.

Debutantes Barney Fountain, Joe Russell, Neil Waterfield, Josh Wilson, Scott Armstrong and Mitch Cannon all gave good accounts while finding out what higher grade rugby is all about.

Knaresborough 33 Whitby 14