Miners Rangers ground out the win in miry conditions as York Acorn showed tremendous spirit to push them hard all the way. With players slipping and sliding everywhere on a sodden surface and any attempts at expansive rugby being punished with handling errors, it was the patient approach of the visitors which saw them dominate possession for long periods but ran into a tremendous defensive stint by Miners, well led by Connor Ratcliffe, Danny Halliwell and Mick O’Boyle, whilst in attack Miners were the more clinical as they capitalised on their chances when they came along. Acorn though, handed a daunting return to the top flight with a trip to Siddal next on the agenda, had Tom Hill and his pack colleagues Joe Porter and Tim Stubbs in tireless form whilst Jimmy Mountford at hooker was a threat throughout.
After an even opening to the game Miners made the breakthrough when Andrew Groves linked into the line and sent Connor Partington crashing over at the corner flag, and although Acorn battled back to pressure the Miners’ line the home side looked the more potent with the guile of Scott O’Brien and the powerhouse pairing of Partington and Brad Hargreaves out wide, and when Hargreaves made a break from inside his own twenty to within fifteen metres of the Acorn line Miners whipped the ball across field for Mitchell Cox to dive over the whitewash at the far corner, Ian Mort adding the extras. Acorn were still undaunted and continued to enjoy good territory but ran into a defensive wall and their troubles were multiplied on the stroke of half time when O’Brien picked up a spilled pass inside his own twenty and juggled and sprinted his way clear past the desperately-backtracking defence to score under the posts for another six pointer.
Miners began the second half looking for what would surely be the killer try but as handling errors crept in Acorn held firm and then began to exert pressure of their own, Matt Chilton hauled into touch just short of the line and Mountford and Joe Budd scheming well in the middle. Miners though continued to repel all boarders until the closing quarter when Stubbs drove his way over under the posts and Anthony Chilton goaled to give his side some hope. Miners though were in no mood to leak further points and indeed fashioned the best of the remaining chances for themselves. Mort kicked a loose pass all the way downfield from near his own line and then as O’Brien stooped to gather it and dive over the line a crafty nudge from the defender saw the ball elude his grasp, then Sam Peet had a grin-and-bear-it moment as he also fumbled with the line open. Finally though Miners had the try to finish things off, Cox capping a fine performance as he slipped the offload away and Mort accelerated through to finish at the corner.
Gamebreaker – Miners’ defensive efforts redoubled after conceding the try to Acorn and that ensured there wouldn’t be any further breakthrough for the visitors
Gamestar – Danny Halliwell produced a masterclass defensive effort, just shading Connor Ratcliffe
Miners – Andrew Groves, Ian Mort, Brad Hargreaves, Mitchell Cox, Connor Partington, Jimmy Muir, Scott O’Brien, Mick O’Boyle, Danny Jones, Matt Astley, Connor Ratcliffe, Sam Peet, Danny Halliwell Subs – Tom Farrimond, Tommy Parkinson, Frankie Halton, Mark Nicholson
Tries – Partington (8), Cox (21), O’Brien (39), Mort (77)
Goals – Mort 2
MoM – Connor Ratcliffe
Acorn – Joe Budd, Josh Thompson, Ryan Gallacher, Jordan Myers, Matt Chilton, Anthony Chilton, Jake Calam, Tim Stubbs, Jimmy Mountford, Joe Porter, Tom Hill, Haidyn Barber, Elliot Bulmer Subs – Adam Endersby, Josh Mortimer, Lewis Lord, Reece Rushworth
Try – Stubbs (62)
Goal – A Chilton
MoM – Jimmy Mountford
Referee – James Jones