After contrasting fortunes on week one, QEGS Wakefield travelled the short distance to Woodhouse Grove in high spirits after a convincing win at RGS Lancaster while the hosts were looking to bounce back after a narrow defeat in another Yorkshire Derby at St Peter’s York.
Woodhouse came fast out of the blocks in a feisty opening and after some sharp handling in the backs, winger Max Kennedy chipped over the last defender for flanker Chris Jackson to collect and score the try. Grove fly-half Luke Punton kicked the conversion from wide out to make the score 7-0.
With the game still being played at a hectic pace and much of the play between 22s, some wayward lineout play meant that the Woodhouse team did not capitalise on their visits to the Wakefield 22.
Inevitably, the QEGS team, full of U15 Natwest Cup finalists and winners from the last three seasons started to apply pressure and only some desperate Grove defence avoided the floodgates from opening. The pressure did lead to penalty opportunities which the excellent Wakefield fly-half Tom Stephenson took to leave the score 7-6.
The home side was aided by a large and supportive supporter body and after a sustained period of pressure, Punton decided that three points from a drop kick would reward his hard working teammates. Immediately, however, Wakefield responded as Stephenson kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to leave the half-time score 10-9 to the Grove.
The second half was one in which QEGS dominated possession, but the Grove team defended bravely across the field. On one of few attacking ventures into the QEGS 22, the men in Green demonstrated calmness and patience to go through more than 10 phases of play before hooker Ryan Gibson wriggled and twisted to avoid the tackle and score in the corner. The conversion was missed, but the score had stretched to 15-9.
QEGS responded once again straight from the kickoff when the home team handed another opportunity by penalty, this time for wing Jake Adams to make the score 15-12.
As the game moved into the final period, QEGS had a stranglehold on possession but were unable to break down the resilient Grove defence. On the one occasion that the line was breached, the final pass was called forward and despite having opportunities to take a kick for the draw, the Wakefield men continued to apply pressure on the ‘Green’ defence; but to no avail, and much to the delight of the home crowd the Grove held on for a victory which demonstrated a huge team spirit which refused to give up against a very talented team.
Both schools have tough fixtures next week with QEGS looking to bounce back against Kings Macclesfield, while Woodhouse Grove travel to a Pocklington side which is undefeated this term.
Full Time: Woodhouse Grove 15-12 QEGS Wakefield
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