IT was relief all round at Knottingley RUFC as they came up with their first Yorkshire One win of the season by beating Barnsley 26-21 on Saturday.
Giving away cheap penalties – 15 all told with 12 in the second half when the referee also produced two yellow cards – did not help their cause and the result could have been different if Barnsley had a prolific kicker in their ranks. But credit to Knottingley for their backs to the wall stubborn defence in the closing stages when their 13 men held out for the win.
The game proved to be a nervous affair and at times scrappy, although the hosts started well with the forwards gaining good go forward to set up the opening try. Winger James Mattin made the break and handed on for Craig Field to romp in for an unconverted try.
However, from the restart they failed to field the ball and Barnsley were quick to seize the opportunity to level with a try of their own.
Knottingley went back ahead when the forwards, ably led by the returning Simon Chippendale, Perry Morrison and Carl Clayton, carved out the yardage for Jamie Milton to squeeze through to set up Michael Piper for a try he converted.
Barnsley answered with a penalty, but missed with two further shots at goal. The hosts then missed a great chance and an attempted drop goal went awry. They were then punished as the visitors were allowed to go the full length of the pitch to score a converted try and close the half 15-12 in front.
Knottingley re-established themselves early in the second half and turned up the heat when putting a penalty in the corner. From the resulting line-out the forwards drove on magnificently and Field went over for his second try, converted by Piper.
Once again, though, as they did in the first half they struggled with the restart and conceded a penalty kicked by the visitors to cut their deficit to one point.
Knottingley stretched their lead in the 53rd minute following Piper’s kick into the opposition 22. Winning the line-out, they whipped the ball out wide for winger Louis Gates to charge in at the corner and Piper’s conversion made it 26-18.
It was then that the game became a bit of a stalemate and with the penalty count mounting against the hosts they had to rely on their defence to see the game out, with Steven Seed and Billy Mareya setting a fine example.
Dean Ackroyd and Field were both sent to the sin-bin to make it a tough last 10 minutes, but Knottingley managed to keep their try line intact with Barnsley managing only one further penalty to earn a losing bonus point.
With a first win under their belts and with a bit of tweaking Knottingley will now be hoping to kick on and start climbing the table in the coming weeks.