Woodbridge Warriors take the victory in clash with Ipswich YM
- Credit: Archant
Woodbridge Warriors emerged successful from this well-fought Suffolk derby, the visitors taking the honours in both the league and Suffolk Cup.
Woodbridge Warriors emerged successful from this well-fought Suffolk derby, the visitors taking the honours 24-7 in both the league and Suffolk Cup.
The previous encounter between these two, in October, had resulted in a narrow YM victory. Since then, YM had endured a poor second half to the season, whereas Woodbridge had put together some good results.
On the day, YM were able to keep possession, especially through their pack, and recycled the ball well to sustain territorial advantage for long periods. However, all too often, handling errors or poor decision-making brought their moves to a premature end.
Both sides used the boot to keep the ball in their opponents’ half, even Warriors hooker Tony Gibson, as the early balance of play favoured the visitors.
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Warriors’ flankers Nick Woodley and Olly Gray were much in evidence at the breakdown and helped start a move on the left that saw Jamie Smith score within five minutes, through a startled YM defence.
The hosts came back strongly using their heavy pack to charge up to the Warriors’ 10 metre line and unfortunately drawing a number of penalties which turned the attack.
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Woodbridge re-challenged the YM 22, Jacob Bodkin and JP Hart kicking from hand to pin Ipswich back.
Curiously YM possession – and there was a lot of it – didn’t seem to flow. Penalties were conceded, balls were knocked on and rucks were lost.
The Warriors capitalised on this, with Woodley, Gray and Jono Cooke revelling in loose ball and Tim Johnson putting in some useful carries.
A period of YM pressure came to nothing, and the visitors then capitalised on a knock-on within the Woodbridge half, Jacob Bodkin sprinting more than 50 metres to touch down beneath the posts to give Woodbridge a 14-0 half time lead.
A more even second half followed, Woodbridge initially extending their lead with a penalty after a high tackle, but then the YM struck back – a break by Ricky Lea leading to a period of sustained pressure on the visitors’ line, with Wes Vakradanu scoring and Tom Potter adding the conversion to make it 17-7.
The tension increased as both sides realised what might happen, with the blustery wind meaning that territory kicks would often miss touch, and that could trigger counter attacks.
YM increased their intensity, Potter and Tui Uru working hard with their second row, Ben Hockley and Kieran Rudland, to keep some possession.
Woodbridge were forced into some hard tackles to stop the rampaging YM backs and conceded penalties in the process.
Ipswich put in a sustained challenge in Woodbridge’s 22, passing the ball wide from side to side but the defence held.
Once cleared Warriors’ substitute back Sam Jackson won the ball from loose play and sprinted 40 metres to score and quieten the home crowd as the game was won.