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Pocklington RUFC cling on in late drama
10:21am Monday 3rd September 2012 in Rugby Union
NEWLY-PROMOTED Pocklington RUFC made a stunning start to life in North One East with a 20-18 victory at Middlesbrough.
The Yorkshire One champions forged into a 20-8 lead with eight minutes remaining but, in a dramatic finale, only a missed conversion by the home side prevented the game ending in a draw.
Some sloppy defence let Middlesbrough in for a late try but, on the last play of the game, Pock were left waiting for a knock-on call that never came after a lineout on halfway and the hosts strolled over for a try under the posts.
It left Middlesbrough with an easy conversion to snatch a draw, but somehow the kick was put wide and Pocklington’s celebrations started.
Earlier, Pock produced the rugby that has seen them rise three leagues in three seasons, their hard work and strong defence giving them an early lead.
A third minute scuffle saw one player from each side yellow-carded, but important steals in the tackle took Pock onto the attack and Jack Holbrough forced his way over at the side of the posts for Nick Bennett to convert.
Full-back Bennett added a 40-yard penalty on 15 minutes, but Pocklington had to play 20 minutes on either side of the interval with 14 men as they lost two more players to the sin-bin for technical offences.
Middlesbrough took advantage to kick a penalty then cross for a try from a quick tap, before Pocklington got back to strength and back on top with Bennett drilling over his second penalty.
Strong pressure then saw scrum-half Ben Rees lose the ball as he dived in at the corner, and centre Tim Nixon held up over the line after a midfield surge.
Pock went for the pushover from the resulting scrum and, when Middlebrough wheeled in retreat, a penalty try converted by Bennett took them 12 points clear.
That looked to have set up Pocklington for a deserved and comfortable win on their North One East debut, until they had to endure agony then ecstasy of the dying moments.
The home side ran in two quick tries to take control of the game in the opening five minutes. When Malton conceded a penalty for holding on after a tackle, the lead was again increased with a successful penalty kick.
Malt then began to fight back and produced some good phases of pick up and drive to get within sight of the line.
They were denied when the referee deemed they had not grounded the ball, but Morpeth were penalised for obstruction under the posts and Ali Heard kicked the penalty.
A further three points were added four minutes later when the hosts were penalised for not releasing the ball after a tackle to make it 13-6 at half-time.
The visitors held the upper hand for long periods of the second half, but Morpeth added a penalty and a converted try.