Trying time for Poste

Sheffield try scorer Matt Poste
Sheffield try scorer Matt Poste

Matt Poste remembers it well. Seven tries before Christmas in the last campaign and then nothing until the end of season play-off clash.

It didn’t go unnoticed, particularly by skipper Andy Kelly who continued to remind him of the ‘great start, shame he couldn’t carry it on’ scenario.

The scrum half was on hand to grab Sheffield’s lone try in their nail-biting 19-17 victory over North One East derby rivals Wheatley Hills at Abbeydale to add to the one he bagged on the opening day romp at Gateshead.

He’s hoping it might be the start of something but he’s not about to tempt fate, as long as Sheffield continue to compete and take their fair share of points, that’ll do nicely as far as he’s concerned.

“It was a good two yards for my try! I was just pleased to get more points on the board and it gave us the perfect start to the second half,” he said.

“I’d like to score more tries but as long as somebody in the team does then that’s fine by me. We’ve got to remain strong, particularly at home and then get as much as we can from our away games. That at least will ensure our safety and that is our first priority, anything after that is a bonus.”

While Poste took the try-scoring plaundits it was fly half Donal Collins who stole the show in what turned out to be a place-kicking contest against his opposite number.

First up those two veteran masters of their craft, Sheffield’s John Dudley and the visitors player-coach Dave Scully, who had shared those halcyon days at Rotherham RUFC together, exchanged a few pre-match pleasantries before both teams got down to the business in hand.

Sheffield were forced into making changes with Martin Balshaw taking over at No7 in place of the injured Laurence Thomas while a late withdrawal by Alex Hill led to Alistair Womack’s first appearance of the season on the wing.

Ewan Reed moved from the right wing to his more familiar position of full back, with Liam Wallace dropping to the bench and Matt Delaney taking up the vacant wing slot.

The two sides traded penalties in the opening 11 minutes, two for the visitors Guy Townsley and two for Collins but the next score didn’t arrive until shortly before half-time which was due mainly to two try-saving tackles from Ewan Reed and Womack’s defensive positioning.

Wheatley’s pressure finally resulted in three late penalties in five minutes, two of which Townsley converted to give his side a 12-6 interval lead. The second half started with a bout of kicking ping pong between Townsley and Collins which in the end went Sheffield’s way.

An error from Wheatley gave the home side turn over ball and excellent work from Dave McCabe, with Balshaw in support, ended with Poste grounding the ball in the corner before being bundled into touch. Collins then struck a superb conversion from the touch line to put Sheffield ahead 13-12 with just three minutes gone. The game continued to ebb and flow but both defences held firm until Collins sank two quick-fire penalties, the latter a superb effort from just inside his own half, to give his side some breathing space.

Back came Wheatley and with 36 minutes gone their pack drove over the Sheffield line some 20 metres out to the left of the posts. Given Townsley’s kicking in the match the conversion seemed to be a mere formality but, unbelievably, he sliced the ball wide and shortly after it was game over.

Sheffield: Ewan Reed, Matthew Delaney, Joe Cribley, Dave McCabe, Alistair Womack, Donal Collins, Matt Poste, Tommy Marples, Carl Mortimer, Chris Machen, John Dudley, Kyle Howard, Dave Ellis, Martin Balshaw, Andy Kelly (capt). Replacements: Ramzey Adamo, Liam Wallace, Tom White.