York RUFC are just one game away from a Twickenham final after defeating Bowdon 25-11 at Clifton Park on Saturday.
The Yorkshire Division One table toppers have made it to the semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup.
It was a battling display by the Clifton Parkers, who despite leading for most of the match, were forced to come from behind by Greater Manchester side Bowdon.
Straight from the off
In perfect conditions at Clifton Park, it was a story of try scoring brilliance mixed with some not so brilliant kicking.
York looked to get in behind Bowdon straight from kick off. It took them just five minutes to do so, as Gareth Singleton got on the end of a well-timed Will Atkin pass to score his first try.
Usually prolific full-back Jon Dawes failed to kick the conversion and moments later, he missed again. York came straight up the field from kick off and were awarded a penalty for offside, but Dawes couldn’t take advantage.
With the opportunity to be out of sight early on missed, Bowdon sprang into action and they started to play some good rugby.
They were rewarded on 15 minutes, after working their way up the pitch resulting in a penalty, which Liam Connolly converted for 5-3.
York immediately responded from the kick off and a powerful break from Joe Maud released Will Atkin to race over for York’s second try.
The conversion was missed for a third time by Dawes, who seemed to be having a dreadful day on the kicking tee.
Just minutes later, Bowdon scored their first try of the game, when Neil Bright broke away from a scrum and crashed over to make the score 10-8 to York, but Connolly missed the conversion.
The visitors then had the opportunity to go in front, after winning a penalty on 30 minutes. Connolly this time made no mistake to take them into a 10-11 lead three minutes from half time.
However, it was York who went into the break on top, as Toby Atkin crashed over for the hosts two minutes before half time. Incredibly, Dawes missed the kick for a fourth time, meaning York were only four points up at half-time.
With the wind picking up, the game lost its free-flowing nature, with minor injuries and refereeing decisions breaking up play.
The conditions were proving difficult for throw ins and the goal kicks from both sides and neither team looked like scoring for the first 20 minutes.
However, York did eventually break through on 60 minutes, when a long pass from Liam Hessay opened up the defence for the excellent Shane Goulding to score under the posts.
Jon Dawes wiped the butter from his boots at half-time and he finally converted to make it 22-11 to York. Moments later, Dawes rounded off the score for the hosts with a well taken penalty.
York saw the game out using the wind to keep Bowdon in their own half and the match finished 25-11 to York.
The Clifton club will now wait for the winners of the Midlands Division to see who their opponents will be in the semi-final on Easter Saturday. Meanwhile, York return to league action on Saturday (Mar 3rd), with a home game against Keighley.