Vandals halt slide with home draw

Matt Farrar
Matt Farrar

Vandals fought back to secure some much-needed league points, drawing 21-21 with Wetherby at Warley in Yorkshire Four.

An early converted try and a well struck penalty saw the visitors take an early lead. Things were starting to look all too familiar for the Vandals as their pack was put under a lot of pressure at set piece and tackles were being missed out wide.

The Vandals worked hard to reduce the deficit, and a few very well struck penalty kicks from Jim Crowther saw them close the gap on the opposition.

However, ill-discipline at the breakdown saw a few more three point opportunities for Wetherby, and their fly half was in good kicking form to extend the gap.

Centre Craig Sim, who had put in a very solid defensive shift early on, was put in the sin bin for repeat offences at the breakdown.

Despite the deficit in numbers, a fantastic kick return from John Isherwood saw him break the line, and good hands in the backs saw the move finished in the corner with a try from Tony McAspurn.

Vandals managed to hold the Wetherby attack out until Sim returned to the field, however a try for the visitors on the stroke of half time saw them end the first half with a seven point lead.

Brett Swiffen came on for the injured number 8 Nathan Harris at half time.

Vandals got off to a strong start to the second half, with a fantastic break from fly half Matt Farrar that was only stopped by fantastic defending by Wetherby.

Very strict officiating saw numerous penalties for both sides, and both Jim Crowther of Vandals and the Wetherby stand-off executed well from a variety of positions, which kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Towards the end of the game a great series of tight and wide phases of play kept Vandals camped inside the visitors 22.

Substitute Brett Swiffen took a pop-pass from player-coach Ed Morane and surged through the Wetherby defence, only to be held up over the line.

A penalty to Vandals for offences at the subsequent scrum gave Swiffen another shot at bowling the visitors over, which he did to earn a share of the spoils.

Morane was pleased with the performance: “I think Jim Crowther played very well, and his goal kicking was fantastic.

“Our pack battled hard against strong opposition and the backs really defended well and looked good in attack.

“We had a very clear game plan, and when we stuck to it we looked really threatening.

“As a coach it is great to come out of a game with a draw against opposition above you in the table, knowing your boys have much more still to give.”

John Isherwood was awarded the man of the match award for his solid defensive effort and threatening attacking runs.