YORK Acorn ARLC bowed out of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the first hurdle after a battling 16-12 round one defeat at home to Siddal.
The Blue and Golds matched their National Conference League premier division visitors stride for stride at Thanet Road, but lost to a Siddal try in the final five minutes of the tie.
The game was dominated by defences, turning into a real arm wrestle in conditions not suited to fast open rugby.
Acorn were first to get on the scoreboard as some sustained pressure in the opening five minutes was rewarded when Oliver Wilcox-Harrison forced his way over the line despite the attentions of four Siddal defenders.
Antony Chilton successfully converted to give the hosts a 6-0 lead.
Siddal refused to let the early set-back faze them and it took only four minutes for them to apply the same pressure and draw level.
The upbeat visitors were then able to mount a similar offensive and again Acorn were caught cold with a score out wide.
The next half hour was end to end with both sides tough in defence and not allowing the break through.
Davey Burns and Joe Porter were huge in both defence and attack for Acorn, supported well by Leigh Reintoul.
In the backs, Jordan Myres, playing his first open age game for Acorn, and Chilton controlled the go-forward.
A superb kicking game from Chilton, using the wind to Acorn’s advantage, kept Siddal at bay for the remainder of the half.
The second period started in similar fashion until, on 50 minutes, Acorn were able to make ground on the back of a couple of penalties.
Matty Woods, who worked tirelessly for the entire game, was able to exploit the advantage to force his way over to level the scores at 10-10.
The game then took a twist when Johnny Waldron took a nasty hit in a tackle and was knocked unconscious for a short time.
The nature of the collision meant Waldron was taken to hospital as a precaution, with the game held up for 20 minutes. Later reports suggested Waldron had suffered no serious damage.
After the restart, Acorn accepted the gift of a penalty to lead 12-10 and they held the advantage until five minutes from time.
Siddal then demonstrated why they are one of the best amateur clubs in the country. Their never-say-die attitude was rewarded when they found a gap in the Acorn defence and touched down for the winning score.
Porter’s 80-minute effort earned him the man of the match award, while there were also notable performances from Reintoul, Burns, Wilcox-Harrison and Adam Endersby.