Friday 26th December 2014, kick off 1pm, Pocklington RUFC, Percy Road, Pocklington
Pocklington 19 Old Pocklingtonians 32
Old Pocklingtonians, the Pocklington School old boys select, came back from the dead to beat Pocklington in an entertaining festive fixture in front of a big Boxing Day crowd – the old boys regaining the Bottomley Trophy which the club has held for the past three years.
Close to 500 people, a record following for the annual ‘Town v Gown’ encounter, turned out to see Pocklington surge into a 19-0 lead inside the first half hour, before the OPs turned the tables in the second to overhaul their hosts.
Once again the occasion was as important as the game, with reunions of old friends and former club mates and alumni abounding on the touchline and the pitch.
There were familiar faces and ex-teammates on both sides, with the new Old Pocklingtonian President and former town front row, Andrew Wilson, leading out a youthful old boy’s side that included a quartet of current school first teamers.
Pocklington fielded as near as they could to a first choice line-up in the opening half, before giving their bench of youngsters a run out later in the day.
Pocklington were the first to show as Tim Nixon came off his wing to rampage up the middle.
But it was an OP attempt to get the ball wide after seven minutes that opened the way for Pock’s first score; the old boys dropping the ball on the far side and in a flash centre Pete Massie snapped it up and burst 35 yards up the touch –line to score, Dan Elliott converting.
Though Pocklington had a clear set piece advantage the OPs put together some dangerous raids and a spell of pressure saw Alex Smith get to the line but lose the ball as he tried to stretch over. The home pack muscled to the other end and from a penalty kick to the corner they had a lineout catch and drive stopped a foot short.
A further penalty award gave them another go and this time they got the touchdown, credited to flanker Karl Durkin who was making a welcome comeback after almost two months out with an ankle problem.
Pocklington soon increased their lead with a third try, Massie again showing elusiveness and acceleration as he dummied through the midfield and raced clear to the left corner, Elliott again converting.
Pocklington looked on course for a convincing win. But the old boys hauled themselves back into contention with the last play of the first half as Loughborough back row Tarek Mursal thrust for the line, centre Joe Holbrough made another and Mursal got back up for a second attempt and burrowed over for the try.
A major interval swap and reshuffle saw the Old Pocklingtonians’ scrimmage strengthened for the second half. And once they grabbed the momentum they increasingly took control.
Pocklington were reeled in as current school 1st XV forwards Lewis Wilson and Sam Garvey stretched over in opposite corners, Wilson crossing on the left after a show and go 20 yards out, and Garvey popping up outside his backs to plunge over at the right flag.
The OPs remained on the front foot and Yorkshire under 20 scrum half James Thompson was almost in after a break down the left.
The OPs held the position and went ahead for the first time as centre Joe Holbrough dived to the line, Lewis Papa converting.
Despite the odd individual break Pocklington were unable to break the OP shackles, and the old boys pulled clear in the closing stages as England U17 development squad flanker Wilson was on the end of some slick handling to get his second score, followed by his school mate Charlie Sleigh going over from the base of a five yard scrum from the last move of the day.
Photos: Ted Westmorland
Report: Phil Gilbank (67-74)