Rams Rally to Win in Downpour
Two second half touchdowns from running back Adim Irozuru secured a come from behind 17-6 victory for the Yorkshire Rams over the Lancashire Wolverines in wet and windy conditions at Blackburn Rugby Club.
Torrential rain greeted the Rams as they received the opening kick-off, which bounced out of bounds to give Yorkshire good starting position. An opening 3-and-out meant that the hosts were soon able to get on the ball however, as the Rams stuttered in the slippery conditions. With the weather making the passing game almost non-existent, the opening quarter became a battle of the ground games, and who could hold onto the football. The away team were the first to blink mid-way through the first quarter, with a Rams fumble gifting possession deep inside their own half. In spite of a spirited defensive display on the goal line, Lancashire was able to punch the ball in to the end zone to open the scoring at 6-0.
Yorkshire continued to struggle to move the ball for the rest of the first half, with turnovers peppering the way alongside a misfiring offence meaning there was little joy to be had. However, solid special teams play combined with tenacious defence kept things in the balance as the half ended 6-0. Heading into the break, the Rams knew that a change needed to happen if they were going to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
That change was aided by relenting weather as the second half opened up. Under dryer conditions, things started to turn in favour of the Black & Gold. A turnover early in the 3rd gave the ball to visitors in good field position, and the Rams were able to drive to within field goal range where kicker Andrew Cheeseman cut the deficit in half at 6-3. Yorkshire were able to maintain their pressure on the waning Lancashire offence, regaining the ball quickly. Finally the Rams were able to break the plane as running back Adim Irozuru ploughed his way into the endzone for the score. The PAT was missed, but still the Rams now vitally held a 9-6 lead.
Increasingly desperate to get back into the game, Lancashire took a gamble on 4th down and attempted a fake punt, however, this was stopped short by an alert Rams defence to give the offence the ball around halfway at the start of the 4th quarter. Again it was powerful running that got to the endzone, and again it was Irozuru who capped off a time-sapping drive to put the score at 15-6 to give Yorkshire a 2 score advantage.
Now was the defences time to step up, and after pushing the Wolverines back to their own 1 yard line, Lancashire elected to take a deliberate safety to clear their lines. With the score now at 17-6, the Rams were able to keep the clock and ball moving on the ground. Although unable to score again, time sapping drives, plus 2 late interceptions from safety Chris Lawton meant that the result was safe as quarter back Jacob Hardy kneeled out the victory.
The win takes Yorkshire to 2-0 for the season, and keeps them in 3rd place in the division. Next Sunday sees the Rams welcoming the Birmingham Bulls to Leeds Corinthians, where Yorkshire will be looking to continue their undefeated streak ahead of a crucial game in the race for the playoffs against the Coventry Jets the week after. The game takes place at Leeds Corinthians Rugby Club, LS10 4AX, with a 2:30pm kickoff.