After weeks of snow and rain the Pythons made the short journey to Leeds Medics to find their large pitch in perfect condition for running rugby. Medics kicked off deep to full back Matt Halpin, who showed the Pythons intent by running out of defence, and after quick recycled ball Halpin knocked forward in contact having made big yardage. A good touch find from Ross Fallenstein saw Gate press early but Luke Price-Gerrard was penalised for a high tackle and the Medics stand-off put in the first of many huge clearance kicks. Gate worked their way back up the pitch with strong carries from Nathan Wake, Matt Leach and Hugh Tatlow creating the space for Ollie Wheatley to have a gallop down the wing. Joe Bentham, starting at scrum half had an inside pass intercepted and Medics made good ground with the break. Another good run out of defence saw Halpin away but his pass fell just behind Wheatley. Medics ag\in came out from deep and great inter passing saw their winger go for the line but he stumbled and was knocked into touch by the covering Tatlow. An attacking Medics scrum saw Gate penalised and whilst the referee was explaining the decision, Medics took a quick tap to open the scoring. 7-0 22 mins. Gate regained possession at the restart and Dorian ENNEQUIN linked with Bentham who put Tatlow through a gap. Tatlow was well tackled by the Medics full back, but Medics were penalised and Fallenstein opened the Pythons account with a well struck penalty. 7-3 26 mins. Halpin continued to trouble the Medics, this time putting Tatlow away again but the supporting Price-Gerrard was caught short of the line. Medics were penalised again and this time Gate turned down the 3 points and went for the corner. The line out was won but Gate were turned over and Medics went the length of the field for the try. 12-3 34 mins. Medic now had their tails up and pressed the Gate line to be met by some ferocious defence. The pressure finally told when Gate were again penalised and another quick tap led to a try. 17-3 38 mins. Medics were penalised at the restart and this time Fallenstein elected to kick to make the half time score Leeds Medic 17 Pythons 6.
Gate made a strong start to the second half with John Reah throwing a dummy and putting Wake away on a charging run, but the Gate support could not get there in time and Wake was penalised for holding on. A Gate move broke down in midfield and was hacked on by Medics but Halpin again came to the rescue with a good pick up and run from defence. Following a line out the Medics stand-off was yellow carded for talking to the referee allowing Gate 10 minutes to get a foothold in the game. A Fallenstein cross kick was well taken by Halpin and recycled to the opposite wing for Tatlow to crash over. Fallenstein added the extras from the touchline, 17-13 53 mins. Medics conceded a penalty at the restart but this time Fallenstein’s kicked sailed just wide. Then Gate inexplicably lost an attacking scrum against the head and the Medics centre broke through several weak tackles to extend the Medics lead. 24-13 65 mins. Gate came back when Reah made a good break and was stopped in front of the posts. Medics were penalised and Gate elected to scrum. The scrum was turned nicely by the Gate pack to allow Bentham to pick up and dive over for the try which was converted by Fallenstein. 24 20 70 mins. Bentham then broke from a midfield scrum and put in a kick and chase. The Medics full back won the race and started another length of the filed move which resulted in another try for Medics. 29 20 75 mins. Gate now needed a score for a bonus point and Ennequin and Tatlow linked well to make good ground. With Gate battering the Medics line, Medics were penalised and Steve Kirkpatrick took a quick tap and dived over the line. However the referee was unsighted and disallowed the try to leave the final score Leeds Medics 29 Pythons 20.
This was a poor defeat for the Pythons who were let down by periods of poor tackling in open play, and a misfiring lineout. Next weekend the Pythons travel to Castleford.
Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC