The seasonal smorgasbord of availability was enhanced this week by the welcome addition of more youth as the 4th XV took on Knaresborough in a merit league fixture.
The age balance was maintained with the re-emergence of The Portly Magician and ex Kevballer Tim Leslie. With the pitch resembling concrete in its balder parts the more mature players were eying it warily during the traditional warm up as aimlessly kicked balls rebounded skywards.
Knaresborough had arrived with 12 so Raj and Gareth gallantly moved across and passive scrums were agreed. Robbed of the front row conflict Thommo , Cptain Cadge and Si H added their might to the loose driving as the pack earned some early yardage for the backs to exploit. With The Portly Magician feeding young Johnny H the backs were quickly in their stride but were unable to break through the stout visiting defence. A huge clearing kick reminded us of the age-less full backs spectating skills as Tim missed the ball completely and Leo’s had some defending to do. This was carried out with disregard for the rock hard surface and the line held firm with young Matty D driving out with pace and support coming from his young colleagues. Eventually it was the elders in the pack who made the difference. A catch and drive was moved forward by Scotty and Cadgey before Newnsy peeled off to drive over from 10 yards out. Tim drifted over the extras. More pressure came to nothing as a try for Johnny was disallowed by the excellent Phil Martin (or Ben Kingsley as the visitors christened him) and the Knaresborough defence stood firm. Finally pressure told and after some good midfield charges from Nial, and the support runners Phil The Power finished off out wide and Scotty missed the conversion. Knaresborough hit back with a well worked try before Phil added his second just before the break as the teams turned round with the score 17-7 in favour of Leo’s.
Captain Cadge requested that the exuberant youth calmed down a little as possession was being wasted with over elaborate moves. The forwards were also rather tired of chasing things around on the hard ground whilst also trying to not fall over and get grazed! Still contemplating this new style Leo’s let the visitors score early on and bring themselves right back into the game. Competition for the ball became more frenetic but was kept under control by Ghandi. A little too much chelpage from the visitors helped with a few extra ten yards as The Portly Magician punished them territorially. A second catch and drive with the usual suspects adding their bulk led to Matty scoring too far out for any extras as Leo’s looked to fluff up a cushion of points. Still Knaresborough would not lie down and Leo’s found themselves defending in their 22 for long periods before touch finders could relieve the pressure.
There was still time for the home side’s move of the match with the pack driving in, quick ball distributed and a superb running line from Phil The Power who sliced through under the posts allowing for Scotty to bring the game to an end with a simple conversion.