Best out of three for Yatton vs local rivals Weston-super-Mare
By Simon Foley
Match report from Jason Clarke, photos from Simon Foley
With honours even after two games this season there was everything to play for in this deciding fixture, and both teams provided a tremendous spectacle of aggressive, running rugby that was a joy to watch.
Yatton made their mark early by scoring in the first minute having secured the ball at the breakdown and then moving it quickly wide for winger Caleb Clarke to go over in the corner. WSM came straight back though, the re-start finding touch as Yatton failed to claim the ball, and then a series of forward drives allowed them to move the ball wide for a similar score in the corner. Yatton responded in kind with Caleb crossing for his second before Ben Clarke added Yatton’s third. Suddenly Yatton were sitting pretty at 21 – 7 with just nineteen minutes gone. The next ten minutes was just great rugby from both sides, Yatton using the pick and drive to great effect before sending it wide only for WSM to scramble their defence and turn the ball over. Then with two minutes to go some really poor defending saw WSM race out of their own twenty-two, score in the corner and at this point Yatton went completely off the boil. A soft try with the final play of the half saw WSM close the gap to two points and at 21 – 19 at the break it was all to play for.
Yatton’s second half start was poor at best. A good attacking move early on was finished off with some poor decision making, a lack of collective responsibility and a great deal of whining and this loss of focus handed the initiative to WSM who immediately went on the attack. Yatton’s defence was nowhere to be seen as two tries in less than ten minutes for WSM saw them race into the lead and it seemed Yatton’s old habits had come back to haunt them. Some tough words were had behind the posts and skipper Jake Damaral took control as Yatton re-grouped and came back fighting. A chip over the opposition and a chase half the length of the pitch saw Ben Clarke over in the corner before a lovely show and go saw Ben through a gap and away to add another although the best bit of this try was the number of Yatton players in support with him all the way. That made it 33 – 33 with twelve minutes left and what a great period of play that was as both teams gave it their all. In the end it was Yatton’s pack though that made the final difference. They had, had the advantage all game in the scrum, worked tirelessly at the breakdown and some of the running by the likes of Fin Skuse, Ben Dooner and Adam Weaver was tremendous. A series of driving plays up the pitch and a pick and go by Toby Manson was stopped just short and then a knock-on gave WSM the 5m scrum that was turned over by Yatton and as the ball came back Jake Damaral pounced to score and secure the win 38 - 33
Tries: Ben Clarke (3); Caleb Clarke (2); Jake Damaral (1)
Conversions: Tom Ballard (4)