Rugby Union / County Championship final: Yorkshire run to victory
Yorkshire. . . .26
IT MAY not be fashionable to support the County Championship these days, but neither is it fashionable to run with the ball. Yesterday at Twickenham both causes came vibrantly to life. That small but vociferous band who had come to watch were regally entertained in a match of constant and at times thrilling movement, in which the mobility of the running game was skilfully revealed.
Yorkshire combined speed and subtlety behind the scrum in equal measure, with Bryan Barley and Steve Burnhill confirming once again that there is no substitute for class. At full- back, the elusive David Breakwell was another to cause the opposition insurmountable problems. It was from two flashing breaks in the first 10 minutes that Yorkshire laid the foundations of their victory, with Kevin Plant kicking two penalties. Thereafter, they built steadily as the power and experience of their forwards began to take its toll.
There were times, however, when Durham managed to make a little go a long way. Twice in the first quarter they rallied round their flanker Simon Musgrove, and Ashley Parker, at the third attempt, kicked Durham back into the game. Never again were they allowed to get that close, but like Yorkshire they spurned no opportunity to advance by the hand rather than the boot.
If there were tactical limitations which would have been savagely punished at the peaks of the game, the slopes below provided blissful refreshment from the normal grind. It was entirely appropriate that Yorkshire's first try should be be scored by their captain, Barley. It followed an irresistible wave of attacks executed at a bewitching pace, before Barley, clamped on to the lock-forward Ian Carroll, tumbled over the line. Yorkshire came within a whisker of scoring a second in sensational style just before half time when Breakwell again swept out of his 22, linked with Chris Thornton before Guy Easterby was felled just short.
If Yorkshire fell from the exhilarating heights in the second half, it was only to be expected. Durham offered brave resistance but had neither the speed nor the guile to break into a Yorkshire lead which was increased by Plant's fourth penalty and Mike Harrison's sublime try from a break, once again, by Breakwell.
Durham: Penalty Parker. Yorkshire: Tries Barley, Harrison; Conversions Plant 2; Penalties Plant 4.
DURHAM: G Spearman (Blaydon); O Evans (West Hartlepool), I Bell (Hartlepool Rovers), P Nickalls (Rosslyn Park), C Mattison (Durham City); A Parker (West Hartlepool), S Kirkup (Durham City); G Naisbitt (Stockton, capt), I Parnaby (Westoe), M Douthwaite (Stockton), G Wanless (Durham City), C Aldus (Stockton), S Musgrove (Westoe), D McKinnon (West Hartlepool), B Dixon (Stockton). Replacements: K McCallum (Durham City) for Evans, 40; J Brown (Novocastrians) for Spearman, 75.
YORKSHIRE: D Breakwell (Leeds); M Harrison (Wakefield), B Barley (Sandal, capt), S Burnhill (Cleckheaton), C Thornton (Leeds); K Plant (Rotherham), G Easterby (Harrogate); R Szabo (Wakefield), R Whyley (Harrogate), S McMain (Sheffield), I Carroll (Otley), C Raducanu (Bradford and Bingley), C West (Rotherham), C Vyvyan (Wharfedale), N Hargreaves (Leeds).
Referee: T Spreadbury (Bath).
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