Report by Ash Cooper, University of Central Lancashire
Lancashire were narrowly beaten by rivals Yorkshire in the roses match at Preston Grasshoppers.
Both teams scored two tries, but it was kicking from the tee that made the difference as Yorkshire won narrowly thanks to two penalty kicks.
Lancashire started the match brightly, and almost made the perfect start after fullback Kian Stewart made a fantastic break in the first two minutes.
Despite a fantastic first ten minutes forcing Yorkshire onto the back foot, they couldn’t convert their pressure into points and it was Yorkshire who opened the scoring through a Tom Stephenson penalty after 13 minutes.
Lancashire were again penalised at the breakdown, and Stephenson kicked another penalty extending the away sides lead to six on 23 minutes.
Yorkshire were reduced to 14 men, with one of the visiting back row visiting the sin bin. And Lancashire began to regain their hold on the game, and missed a chance to get their first points on the board when a Kian Stewart penalty went just wide.
Yorkshire took a six point lead into the first half game, in what had been an even game. Poor weather conditions didn’t help either side, as both teams made handling errors at crucial moments.
Lancashire came out at the second half flying, and winger Joshua Moreau scored a fantastic solo try finishing well in the corner. Jamie Morris missed the conversion, but Yorkshire's lead had been cut to just one point.
Yorkshire scored their first try of the game shortly after, as Joshua Unthank latched onto a grubber kick to cross the whitewash. Yorkshire missed the conversion, giving them an 11-5 lead.
Yorkshire scored their second try shortly after, as they were finally able to penetrate solid Lancashire defence and lock Adam Hopkinson was able to force his way over the line. Stephenson successfully knocked over the conversion from the touchline, to extend the lead to 13 points with 15 minutes to play.
Lancashire showed great character and spirit all game though, and staged a late fight back through a Kian Stewart try, after a great break and offload by Matty Ashcroft. Stewart was able to convert his try to bring Lancashire back within six points with minutes to play.
That is how the game would end though, as Yorkshire were able to hang on for a narrow victory.
Lancashire showed vast improvements from their last outing against Cheshire, and Coach Iain Crosley saw plenty of positives, as he said: "It was a lot better than our performance against Cheshire in both attack and defence. We showed great spirit to get back into the game, and played some really good stuff with the ball in hand".