Amateurs create history in the snow

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The Independent Online
West Hull 10 York 6

West Hull became the first amateur club in history to reach the last 16 of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup, defying arctic weather at The Boulevard last night to beat their Second Division opponents, writes Dave Hadfield.

York had invested in the services of a sports scientist to aid in their preparations. They would have had better value from a team of huskies, but while the referee, Nick Oddy, could be regarded as foolhardy for playing the full 80 minutes, there was little doubt that the amateurs deserved their win.

Convincing winners over one professional club at Highfield in the last round, they attempted nothing fancy on the snow-covered and wind-whipped pitch.

It was a fair enough policy in conditions bad enough to take all local transport off the roads and close down two ends of the ground, but York had a little more variation to offer.

There was nothing very complex about the way they took the lead in the 20th minute, however, their hooker, Andy Pallister - who had already been stopped on the line once - driving over from close range, with Andy Precious kicking the goal.

West Hull plugged away in determined fashion, but had trouble gaining ground into the blizzard for the rest of the first half. Their second- row forward, Scott Fletcher, cunningly exploited the worst of the weather to his own advantage, dashing in from 20 yards out, the York defence quite possibly losing sight of him.

The West Hull hooker, Dave Roe, could not add the goal, but a half-time deficit of a mere two points was a more than satisfactory effort by the amateurs.

Seven minutes into the second half, West Hull went ahead, their half- time substitute, Martin Baker, slipping a superb ball to Chris Verity, who raced in for an excellent try, which Roe converted.

With conditions worsening all the time, the amateurs defended furiously to keep their line intact against opponents who could now see ignominy beckoning. Pallister and Lee Kitchener were both forced back after going close to crossing the line.

West Hull: Watts; Fash (Subritsky, h-t), Verity, D Carter, Artley; Farr, C Carter; Bellis, Roe, Richardson, Kirk (Baker, 43), Fletcher, Robson.

York: Johnson; Kettlestring, Laurence, Hopcutt, Thomas; Cain (Hill, 30), Smirk; Marson (Hayes, 54), Pallister, Kitchener, Precious, Hayes (Judge, 30), Ramsden.

Referee: N Oddy (Halifax).