BARLA County
Championship Yorkshire 28 Cumbria 14


Yorkshire are the BARLA County Champions after this victory in a game they had to win as a draw would have given Cumbria the title as they had a better points difference going into this crunch game.

Yorkshire were 10-8 ahead at halftime with Cumbria coming back from 10-2 with the last play of the half. Following a bout of Cumbrian pressure in the opening fifteen minutes Yorkshire hit back with a brace of tries from substitute winger Johnny Waldron in a magic seven-minute period and Kevin Browns try was icing on the cake. But Cumbria kept going and were rewarded with a consolation try two minutes from time when Richard George scored. The game got off to a crunch after only three seconds as Yorkshires Gary Lumb and Cumbria?s Tom Sibley went down in the first tackle which resulted in Sibley being stretchered off dazed and going to hospital for a check up.

On resumption Yorkshire scored after four minutes when centre Eddie Mack took a pass from hooker Peter Stephenson at the play the ball and went through a large hole in the Cumbria defence from thirty metres and Lumb added the extras. The visitors though kept there composure though both sides were dropping the ball early in the tackle count and they were awarded a penalty on ten minutes for offside and fullback Darren Block kicked the first of his three conversions. But Yorkshire whose forwards were making the bigger gains through Lumb, Mark Spence Gary Lewis, Simon Kilby and Peter Stephenson gradually got on top and Stephenson started the move for Yorkshire?s second try on 20 minutes. He drove at the Cumbria defence before passing inside to scrum half Kevin Till who switched direction of play with a long pass out centre Paul Taylor who scored in the corner to make it 10-2.

Cumbria?s halfbacks Liam Finch and George were a constant threat working well with hooker Paul Telford and good drives from forwards Jamie Butler, Ryan Wood and Steven Wood but they were second best especially in the second period. But they got back into the game on the stroke of half time following poor decision making by Yorkshire.

Given a penalty 15 metres out the ?White Rose? decided to run it instead of kicking the goal which would have given them a 10 point lead. They lost the ball and Cumbria went up field and Finch put a high bomb up which fullback Danny Ulyatt knocked on in his in goal. Winger David Whitworth followed up hacked on a cross-field grubber and won the foot race to score and Block added the extras.

Cumbria had a golden chance on 46 minutes but winger Ryan Blair knocked on Finch?s high bomb in the corner with the try line beckoning. They kept pressing the Yorkshire try line which included a number of back to back sets and penalties given by the referee but the home sides sliding defence was magnificent. Having soaked up the pressure Yorkshire counter attacked and substitute, winger Johnny Waldron had a magic seven-minute period that saw him score a brace of tries and the side twelve points. On 55 minutes 30metres out stand off Brown put a long ball out to Till who found Taylor who gave it to Waldron on the touchline. The avenue in front of him was blocked but with a surge of speed he cut inside on an angled run to score by the posts going past several Cumbria defenders. Mack added the extras and a penalty on the hour and two minutes later Waldron chased a Till grubber to the corner to score making it 22-8.

Cumbria battled on but Yorkshire had stepped up a gear and only poor final passes stopped Waldron scoring a further tries with the Cumbria defence shot. Yorkshire confirmed their superiority when Stephenson?s grubber bounced up perfectly for the supporting Brown to collect and score and Lumb added the extras after 70 minutes.

But Cumbria had the last word as George took a pass from Finch to score from 10 metres on 78 minutes as the Yorkshire defence had struggled to get back following a 30metre break from Telford on the previous tackle. But the thirty-four players showed what the County Championship means to them despite criticism from other quarters within the amateur game.

After the game coach Alf Hill said, ? I was pretty happy with the way the lads played today, we had a game plan to stick to just before half time it was undone a little bit and we gave a soft try away but after a verbal lashing at half time the lads responded in the second half and did a proper job.? A delighted manager Spen Allinson said, ?The game itself was absolutely tremendous by both teams to say there was a lot of young men out there just on the verge of manhood 21, 22 yr old. The crowd, a very good crowd was entertained from start to finish, end to end stuff, no quarter asked for and no quarter given.

?It?s just very disappointing when we get senior officials in the game making comments that are derogatory towards the county Championship and that. Anyone seeing the adulation of the Yorkshire players after the game and not being disrespectful to our Cumbria friends, and their disappointment, which was so obvious. This is something that has to continue it can?t be put to one side.? Yorkshire: Danny Ulyatt (Hull Dockers), Steve Lewis (Siddal), Paul Taylor (Hull Dockers), Eddie Mack (Thornhill Trojans), Chris Lee (West Hull), Kevin Brown (Eastmoor Dragons), Kevin Till (Castleford Panthers), Gary Lewis (Siddal), Peter Stephenson (West Hull), Gary Lumb (Cutsyke), Jon Eccles (Hull Dockers), Mark Spence (Ideal Isberg), Simon Kilby (Skirlaugh), Johnny Waldron (York Acorn), Chris Stockton (Castleford Lock Lane), Wayne Foster (Heworth), Shaun Sutton (Ideal Isberg).

Cumbria: Darren Block (Egremont), Ryan Blair (Westfield), Paul Culnean (Kells), Liam Harrison (Barrow Island), David Whitworth (Ellenborough), Richard George (Seaton Rangers), Liam Finch (Walney Central), Jamie Butler (Walney Central), Paul Telford (Egremont), Ryan Wood (Askam), David Dickinson (Kells), Steven Hodgson (Seaton Rangers), Tom Sibley (Millom), Ryan Robb (Kells), Steven Long (Egremont), Matt Jefferson (Barrow Island), Darren Branthwaite (Maryport).