CUMBRIA 20 YORKSHIRE 22
Yorkshire held off a valiant Cumbrian fightback to claim a win in their first U19 BARLA Three Counties Championship match, setting up a winner takes all clash with Lancashire at Heworth next Sunday.
Cumbria made a brilliant start when Millom fullback Ethan Bickerdike glided through the middle of the defence under the posts and Hensingham scrum-half Jack Kellett goaled to ensure a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
Yorkshire responded with a try of their own after 10 minutes. The ball came right and Shaw Cross Sharks second row Callum Burden had the strength to ground. It roved too wide out for King Cross stand-off Aaron Brookes to goal but he was on target in the 25th minute after captain Niall Green (King Cross) powered over at the side of the posts.
The first half contained plenty of niggle and Cumbria gave as good as they got. The looked set to score and retake the lead only for Ethan Myers (Huddersfield St Josephs) to break the line and fire the pass to Kai Fowler (Skirlaugh) who finished by the posts. Brookes converted and Yorkshire led 16-6 at half-time.
With the advantage of a favourable breeze in the second half, Yorkshire made much the better opening and restricted Cumbrian yardage, despite best efforts of Aaron Turnbull (Hensingham) and Charlie Emslie (Millom).
With Brad Llewellyn (Thornhill) marshalling Yorkshire, they stretched their advantage when a sweep play right just gave Burden enough room to squeeze over for his second try and Brookes goal opened a 22-6 lead.
Unfortunately for Yorkshire they made an error at the restart and Cumbria finally began to enjoy some field position. Evan Jones (Dalton) pulled a try back after 58 minutes and he was soon followed over the line by Lowca's Jacob Johnson who was really lively around the ruck. Unfortunately, Kellett couldn't goal either but at 14-22 it was certainly game on.
Cumbria were now confident and Jack Stevenson (Dalton) sliced through for Kellett to goal. At 20-22 Yorkshire were rocking and with their attacking shape all over the place, Brookes sent a penalty goal attempt short. In the closing stages, Emslie found himself in the sinbin for an obstruction on a chaser and Yorkshire edged home in the narrowest of fashions.
CUMBRIA: Ethan Bickerdike (Millom), Elliott Bibby (Walney), Zac Steel (Askam), Evan Jones (Dalton), Kieran Fleming (Kells), James Ennis (Kells), Jack Kellett (Hensingham), Connor Terrill (Millom), Shane Sanderson (Barrow Island), Aaron Turnbull (Hensingham), Jack Stevenson (Dalton), Charlie Emslie (Millom), Jack Crarey (Dalton). Subs: Will Ennis (Kells), Karl Garner (Kells), Austin Mossop (Millom), Jacob Johnson (Lowca).
YORKSHIRE: Brad Llewellyn (Thornhill), Ryan Hilton (Skirlaugh), Billy Aveyard (Shaw Cross), Robbie Newton (Cutsyke), Brad Baines (Shaw Cross), Aaron Brookes (King Cross), Harrison Sutcliffe (Shaw Cross), Bailey Woods (Dearne Valley), Jon Diskin (Dewsbury Moor), Niall Green (King Cross), George Hirst (Dewsbury Moor), Callum Burden (Shaw Cross), Kier Purdy (Cutsyke). Subs: Joel Russell (Shaw Cross), Kai Fowler (Skirlaugh), Eion Bowie (Shaw Cross), Ethan Myers (Huddersfield St Josephs).