The words “we got out of jail” were on several visiting supporters’ lips as Old Brodleians snatched a 17-14 win in today’s Yorkshire One opener at Old Rishworthians.
The promoted home side were desperate to mark their first ever match at this level with a win and their better set piece gave them the advantage in possession and field position.
However, they paid the price for missed goal kicks as debutant centre Tom Kill’s second try of the game for Brods late on proved decisive.
It was a typical derby, high on enthusiasm and passion but littered with errors.
To the casual observer, Rishworthians may have looked the more established side at this level. They produced the more cohesive team effort with the contrasting figures of small, quicksilver centre Chris Dyson and heavyweight, strong-running prop Harry Whitfield catching the eye.
Brods, with three new backs and two new front rowers, were profligate in possession but defended well and did score three tries to one.
As their coaching team member Danny Monk remarked afterwards: “At the end of the season people will not look back and think how badly Brods played, just that we won.”
In barbecue-type weather, Rishworthians fired up their supporters with a strong start, No 8 James Clarke twice breaking through but not being able to find the support.
Stand off Josh Kelly kicked the hosts into the lead with a 15th minute penalty but Brods hit back.
Clarke was yellow carded and Brods stand off Gareth Newman missed a penalty but full back Phil Town fielded a kick and went past winger Anthony Shoesmith to set up the position for back rower Brodie Wilson to sprint in wide on the left for an unconverted try.
It stayed at 3-5 until the closing stages of the half when Kelly plunged over from close range, his conversion attempt striking the right-hand upright.
Kelly and the Brods trio of Newman, Town and Joe Armitage all made excellent ground with bounced kicks into touch in the second half.
Kelly’s boot made it 11-5 on 44 minutes, after Brods lock Pete Williams had been sin-binned, but ex-Darlington Mowden Park player Kill fended off two defenders to make it 11-10 with an unconverted try on 50 minutes.
Kelly’s easy penalty stretched Rishworthians’ advantage to 14-10 approaching the hour mark but he then missed a straight shot at goal and handed over the kicking duties to half-back partner Ed Cockroft, who duly put his opening effort to the left of the posts.
Brods were down to 14 men for the closing stages, having lost centre Matt Carbutt to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Shoesmith. They attacked via Newman’s fine kick and Kill eventually planted the ball one-handed over the try line and Newman converted.
There was still time for Rishworthians to win another penalty but Cockroft’s low torpedo kick from half-way out to the touchline was off target.