DONCASTER 31 WHARFEDALE 6 DONCASTER Knights rounded off an excellent campaign when beating Wharfedale 31-6 in last night's Yorkshire Cup final at York, five tries to nil in the process.
It was a perfect night for rugby, warm and still, with a pitch looking remarkably green in this dry weather. A good crowd appreciated a keenly contested match but the difference between a full strength National Two team and a team of National One squad players became more evident as the game progressed.
Veteran scrum-half Dave Scully captained the side and he put in a tireless 80 minutes, orchestrating matters and even finding time to guide the referee when needed!
Dan Storey, playing on the left wing, was prominent in the early stages as was Paul Bailey on the other but the Greens' defence was secure and the only scoring opportunity was a penalty attempt by fly-half Cerith Rees which slid wide of the uprights.
The first try came after 27 minutes when Scully fired out a long miss -pass to the right wing where Bailey found the space to finish clinically in the corner. Wharfedale pegged three points back when Mark Bedworth struck a penalty following offside at a ruck offside.
But it was the only sniff of a score the Greens had in a half in which they worked hard, tackled superbly and managed to prevent the flowing game that Clive Griffiths' charges attempted to play.
Scully added a second try on 35 minutes when he wriggled and spun his way over after Ryan Peacey and Richard List had been prominent in setting up a close-in maul which the Knights couldn't drive over, leaving Scully to snipe off the edge. Cerith Rees added the extras to make it 12-3.
Knights added a third try before the break when Spencer Davey intercepted a pass on the halfway and set off for the Wharfedale line. A magnificent tackle from bebyhind by full-back Neil Bagget stopped Davey reaching the line, but he deftly offloaded to the supporting John Cannon who dived over for the points to earn his side a 17-3 half time lead at the of a remarkably fluent first half during which there hadn't been a single stoppage.
Bedworth had an early chance to get three points back when the Knights were found joining a maul from the side, and the points raised Wharfedale's spirits.
But any thoughts of a fightback were cruelly dented shortly thereafter when Davey danced through a bemused Greens' defence to give Tom Davies the simple chance to drive home from ten metres.
Rees added the extras before giving way to Mark Woodrow. Woodrow immediately made a mark on the game with a live wire 30 minute performance. He was suddenly at the heart of everything, sparking the side all over the pitch, and was duly rewarded with a little cameo try of his own.
Up in flat defence he managed to get a thigh to a Wharfedale pass, kick ahead, chase, collect and dive over for the try he himself converted which finally quietened the lively Wharfedale support.
The full quota of replacements was summoned so that everyone could enjoy the occasion and feel part of it. All made positive contributions.
The Greens' scrum creaked under incessant pressure as the fresh Knights pack turned the screw and further chances were created, but more heroic defending denied Doncaster a further score.
Doncaster: Carter, Bailey, Cannon (Ellis 69), Davey, Storey, Rees (Woodrow 52), Scully, List (Davies 48), Phillips (Plevey 57), Rawson (Barretto 44), Griffiths, D Cook (Wilkinson 69), Grainger (Cusack 64), Peacey, O. Cook.
Referee: R Phillips (North Yorks).