John Mooney: Beverley vs Barrow Island
After an absence of almost 20 years, Beverley Braves returned in triumph to the National Conference League with a comprehensive 30-0 victory over Barrow Island in front of a big crowd at the Leisure Centre. The Braves were off the mark in the fourth minute when scrum-half Lewis Poskitt jinked his way through a static Islands defence to score near enough to the posts for the conversion to be added by Josh Poskitt. Handling errors blighted the visitors on their own line, handing another try to the Braves, this time from prop Luke Inglis, converted by Lewis Straw. The hard-running Alex Sterling, who was causing havoc down the left edge, broke through again before handing on to half-back Straw, who converted. With just a couple of minutes to go the same pair produced a repeat performance and Beverley were 24-0 up at the break.
The Cumbrians had been held on the sixth tackle three times in the first half but tightened up considerably in the second period with the hard-running Joe Spencley testing the home defence on several occasions. Barrow had by far the most possession in the half but dogged tackling from the Braves forwards, and out wide on their left edge, kept the Island at bay and they had the last laugh when Luke Shaw finished off a move a few minutes before the final whistle with the Straw converting. It was a fine start to life in Division 3 for Beverley and though there will be tougher tests to come in what looks a very strong division their resolute goal-line defence should see them secure a good position in their opening campaign.