A hat-trick of tries in the space of 20 minutes in the first half from Kiwi Sam Deacon helped Old Brodleians open their home campaign with a 22-8 win over York in Yorkshire One.
The powerful centre provided the cutting edge for the Woodhead men, who were much improved up front from their opening 23-11 defeat at Yarnbury.
It wouldn’t be Brods if there wasn’t a raft of changes from the previous season.
Loma Kivalu, Callum Thompson and Kris Sharples are among the departures. There is a new coaching team of Matt Smith and Danny Monk while overseas pair Armir Kozhani and Sterling Ross have arrived.
Aussie lock Ross produced an industrious and effective display while promoted pair Michael Briggs on the wing and Gareth Moger at prop are impressing Smith. However, tough-as-teak Deacon did the real damage.
Brods, facing the slope in their light blue change kit, were put on the defensive by a wickedly-bouncing kick off and York’s tall centre Jon Dawes missed a penalty on five minutes.
Phil Town, deputising for Danny Wood at stand off, caught out York with a long drop-out and that helped the home side gain a territorial advantage which they held until the opening score on 17 minutes.
Fullback Matty Hoyle’s chip and chase forced York to conceded a five metre scrum and eventually Briggs showed good strength wide on the right to stand up in the tackle and off-load for Deacon, who scored an unconverted try.
The Kiwi touched down again three minutes later, shrugging off the tacklers following skipper Kyle Millward’s unlikely kick for position and Town’s half-break. Town converted for 12-0.
York had been expected to keep things tight and drive through their forwards. They did so briefly to pull back five points through burly lock Chris Fox on 25 minutes but Dawes was unable to convert.
Deacon got back to made a great tackle as the visiting backs threatened for the first time and York got further encouragement when Town twice failed to find touch from penalties.
However, Deacon was proving virtually unstoppable with ball in hand and he swatted off three tacklers to cash in on good work from Moger wide on the right.
Town’s conversion made it 19-5 on 36 minutes but Dawes replied with a straight 35 metre penalty before half time.
York made a bright start to the second period but Dawes put a long penalty wide and Brods held them fairly comfortably from then on.
The visitors’ failure to execute at the lineout meant they were unable to launch their forwards at the home line.
Play was centred between the York 22 and the half-way line for much of the second period.
Town took three points for offside with five minutes left to put the outcome beyond doubt and it was then just a case of if the Woodhead men could gain a four-try bonus point.
However, they were thwarted by the referee’s whistle whenever they got close.