West Leeds 30 v Leos 37
Leos secure good away victory
Only three members of the impressive Leos pack which dismantled West Park, were able to make the arduous three mile trip across the city to face West Leeds.However,this allowed a potential glimpse of the future, with props Chris Lewis and Stuart Baker starting together for the first time. Experience was provided in the second row, where Nick Freear joined James Debenham and Richie Howells and Richard Bell made up the back row with Will Levitt.
The home side opened more enthusiastically, taking a six point lead via two early penalties, whilst Monty Wainwright replied with another 30m pen kick. Leos then stood off, kicked possession away - never a good idea against the young WL backs - missed a number of tackles, allowing the home side to score two good long range tries and take a 16 - 3 lead after 15mins.
Leos finally secured some field position and the direct running style of Danny Thompson proved too difficult to handle, as he stormed under the posts, with Monty Wainwright tagging on the extras. Leos still hadn't learnt the lesson and a third long distance try followed, to give the home side a comfortable 23 - 10 lead, in what could only be described as an open game!
Strong words were needed from James Knibbs and Monty Wainwright to restore some structure, before the Leos pack gradually got on top. Runs from Will Levitt and Richard Bell set up the position, the props drove hard and Danny Thompson arching run proved unstoppable for his second try.
A dominant scrum, then allowed Monty Wainwright to explode from the base and a mixture of impressive footwork and outrageous dummies, put the classy scrum half over with hardly a hand laid on him and a somewhat fortuitous half time score of 23 - 20.
It’s fair to say that Coach Greenwood was not happy at half time, but Leos opened with more intensity in the second half and more driving work from the pack, allowed Monty Wainwright to even the scores with a 25m penalty.
James Debenham and Nick Freear were now securing valuable possession, Tom Bindloss was linking intelligently from the back and Chris Lewis and Stuart Baker were running good lines. Good work from Stu Baker carried the pack forward, before they drove over from close range, with Richard Bell coming up with the ball, to secure the bonus point try and put Leos ahead for the first time on 55mins at 30 - 23.Peter Loughenbury replaced the hard working NickFreear.
West Leeds immediately responded with a trade mark try as their full back and centre combined down their right, to find space and accelerate under the posts to leave the score level at 30 apiece.
Unfortunately, Stuart Baker then had to hobble off the pitch with what appeared to be a career threatening injury, but fortunately, expert medical attention was to hand and it was finally diagnosed as 'almost a blister'.!!!
This did allow Si Worrall to make his appearance after his credible Charity work the previous night. He made an immediate impact, breaking tackles and setting up a close range lineout. More accurate throwing from Martin McIntosh found James Debenham, and then quick hands put Dave Barden through for the match winning try, with Monty Wainwright adding the extras.
An enjoyable 'end of season' game, with plenty of open rugby to please the crowd and send the respective coaches off in search of the tackling pads. Special mention must go to Richard Bell who probably had his best game for the first team, but the Man of the Match award had to go to Richie Howells for his nonstop work rate, crucial tackles and doing the 'dirty' work on the ground.
Leos lie fifth in the league and have their final home game of the season, when Hullensians are the visitors to Crag Lane a week on Saturday
Report Peter Cooke