Bank Quay Bulls 28 - Leyland Warriors 32
The Warriors finally got some reward for their efforts after falling just short so far.
The benefits of training together as a whole squad paid off for the Warriors today, with three young players making their Division 2 debuts and slotting seamlessly into the side as the team travelled to Warrington in one of few fixtures to survive the weather.
Leyland got off to a great start, with big yardage from the forwards and a superbly executed shift play saw Andy Robinson chime in from fullback and feed Dave Lonsdale, who crossed out wide and Scott Low converted, 0-6. Leyland's pack continued to dominate the early exchanges and after just 10 minutes, Tommy Gallagher crashed his way over the line, with Robinson's conversion making it 0-12.
Having taken two score leads in both of their previous fixtures this season, only to fail to keep control of the game and lose by a single score, it was no surprise to see the pattern emerge of a simple error by the Warriors, compounded by a penalty, leading to a Bulls try. In a disastrous second quarter of the game Bank Quay added 24 unanswered points to take a commanding lead and as they were pressing for a further score, Lonsdale threw the Warriors a lifeline as he read they play, intercepted the pass and went 70 metres to score, with Low making it 24-18 at the break.
Leyland started the second half by building pressure and this paid off when some great offloading from the forwards saw Low dummy, straighten and race under the posts, converting his own try to level the scores, 24-24. The game ebbed and flowed with neither side really able to take control, although back to back Leyland penalties gave Bank Quay good field position and they squeezed in at the corner to regain the lead, 28-24.
At this stage in the previous two games, Leyland have panicked and been unable to get themselves back into the game. Today they displayed much more resilience and stuck to the plan, applying their training and the forwards took control, dominating the midfield battle. With 10 minutes remaining, another well-executed left to right shift saw Lonsdale complete his hat-trick in the corner to again draw level, 28-28.
With the game in the balance, both teams threw everything they had at each other in the closing stages and after another great set from the Warriors' pack, an offload saw the ball shifted quickly to the right once more and Joe Weston scored his first try in Division 2 to put Leyland in front for the first time in 60 minutes, 28-32.
Both teams had another couple of sets in possession but Leyland were safe in attack and controlling in defence, determined not to let a hard fought lead slip away in the dying moments of the game. The referees whistle signalled an important away victory and also ended any doubts the Leyland players may have been harbouring about their ability to close out a tough game.
Team: Andy Robinson, Joe Weston, Dave Lonsdale, Nathan Burns, Adam Bee, Dan Horridge, Scott Low, Si Dempsey, Si Wrigley, Sam Biggs, Pete Heatley, Tommy Gallagher, Ash O'Rourke, Nathan Burns, Cory Bennie, Danny Mc Grath, Josh Day.