It was always going to be tight. Leos welcomed our chums from round the ring road in a battle to prove that the Leeds Rugby Hegemony of the last 20 years may be about to change.
Overnight rain of Biblical proportions levelled matters, which were tight anyway, between the two sides and Leos were also required to cope with the unavailability of the influential Monty Wainwright and Jordache Myerscough
on wedding and NHS duties respectively.
The game opened under the baleful presence of the incomparable Rob Staines, who wielded the whistle with a welcome lightness of touch reminiscent of the late James Galway on the flute. Yarnbury were quicker into their stride, and Leos seemed strangely subdued in the opening stages. Yarnbury fly half Carl Paterson opened the scores with a penalty following a failure to release a tackler, and a failure to escape the all-seeing eye of the match official. Shortly afterwards, a Paterson hoof downfield caused chaos akin to the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan in the Leos defence, and Yarnbury touched down to open up an 8-0 lead.
This seemed to sting Leos from their slumber, and charges by Worrall, Robinson and Connell whetted the home sides appetite for the fight. A stunning breakout led by Tim sleight
and Mark Winter
nearly broke the shackles of the Yarnbury defenders, but the final pass went to ground.
Leos were also enjoying a rare advantage from a home crowd swelled by attendees at the Vice Presidents Lunch. The touchline resembled a rogues gallery of older Leos, many of whom had overstayed wisdom at the refreshment table. In fact the decrepitude and mental degeneracy of those present called to mind watching Stadler and Waldorf from the Muppet show whist in a Hall of Mirrors.
Leos tails were now up, and the pressure eventually told when Jimmy Henry burst through to touch down near the sticks, adding the conversion to bring the score to 8-7 to Yarnbury at half time.
The second half settled into a pattern of Leos playing some fluent rugby, with Yarnbury counterpunching via Paterson's effective boot. Leos edged ahead when Worrall touched down following a Winter kick through but everytime Leos looked like pulling clear, Yarnbury edged back into contention with a series of penalties. The decisive score came when Leos, playing with commendable freedom by now, engineered a magnificent long range try featuring Winter, Sleight and finally Barden who touched down for Leos 3rd try, Henry adding the extras.
Yarnbury threatened again, but magnificent work from skipper Dave Robinson
in particular kept the visitors at bay. Yet another penalty from Paterson, the owner of a boot larger than a 70's American Gas Guzzler, presaged a tense closing 10 minutes, but Leos were able to maintain a position deep in the Yarnbury 22 and eventually Henry hoofed the ball halfway to Sainsburys to bring matters to a close.
A thoroughly entertaining affair then, played in good spirit and well controlled by Mr Staines. Supporters from both sides retired to the bar where goodwill and grace in victory and defeat prevailed, and old war stories were exchanged.
Another chapter next week sees us travel to West Park for what is sure to be another tight affair.