By Sean Fletcher
Ilkley Rugby Club in Yorkshire became a sea of red roses as England Deaf finally overcame the huge hurdle of the current world Deaf champions Wales Deaf.
England Deaf reclaimed the Broadstreet Cup for the first time since 2012 following a 27 - 11 victory over Wales Deaf at Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
Ilkley Rugby Club being wonderful host, with their fantastic facilities and friendly atmosphere.
In cold, blustery conditions, England outscored Wales by four tries to one on an afternoon where the hosts physicality and ball carrying were key.
England enjoyed the majority of possession and territory during the first half, working hard in the tight and slowly but surely breaking holes close to the breakdown. Eventually the deadlock was broken when after a powerful driving maul, debutant starter, Rob Shaw crossed for a magnificent try. With the addition of a penalty for England and a run away try by Wales. England surprisingly only went in at the break by 8 points to 5. Playing with a strong wind at their backs, England enjoyed plenty of ball however resilient Welsh defence ensured only 3 points split the teams at the break.
Wales started the second half strongly and drew level after only two minutes with a long range penalty from Celyn Ashton. For the first 15 minutes of the second half Wales looked like they may have found a way to control the England team like so many of these fixtures in the past. England made some changes and brought the experienced loose head prop Josh Sprules onto the pitch, and the welcome return of Cameron Roberts onto the wing.
England soon edged ahead with a sensational individual try from outside half Henry Peuble who broke through Wales' defence from halfway to glide through under the posts.
Ashton reduced the deficit for Wales with another long range penalty as both teams threw everything into the last quarter.
The decisive score came from England with approximatly 10 minutes left following some good close interchange play that led to Aaron Beasley crashing over after breaking Welsh tacklesa. Despite the missed conversion, England led by 20 points to 11 and could sense a famous victory.
With 6 minutes left, Cameron Roberts topped his return and crossed for their fourth try, which was converted and was the cue for joyous celebrations among the England Deaf squad at the final whistle.
Huge congratulations must go to this squad who have so far this season beaten NZ and Wales Deaf, the influx of new players and new caps is a testament to the hard work going on behind the scenes.