Wests returned to Blue Hill Lane looking to get back to winning ways as we faced Malton & Norton (at the same time). Over 25 players were unavailable this week and meant the Maverick’s game was cancelled, reasons as varied as ‘ooo my shoulder hurts’ Dale Breakwell to Dec Penny organising a back rows outing to the Anthony Joshua fight, and not inviting Jamie Cockin.
With Sam Neave this week playing at 10 the backline was again reshuffled with Gus in at 9, Calderwood to 13 and Keir to the wing, whilst the forward pack saw George Carpenter move to 8 and Scott Coyne join Dan Baxter in the row.
Keir kicked off (as Sam can’t kick) and M&N set out as they meant to go on, snapping around the rucks, loose defence from WL saw them camp on the home 5m line; however, some ruck time treachery from George Carpenter secured Wests a penalty and the pressure was relieved.
The penalty was kicked to touch and a Jamie Cockin lineout take was shipped off the top. Danny Booth cutting a lovely angle and outfoxing the last defender to score to the right of the posts. Keir’s conversion was woeful – WL 5-0.
Jamie Cockin collected the kick off but was immediately bundled into touch. The lineout was stolen by the WL pack and Jamie turned distributor as he shipped on to 10 for the day Sam Neave. Sam attacked the gain line and passed the ball out to Mark Calderwood who ghosted round the Malton defender, however the final pass to a supporting Danny Booth went astray and the chance went begging.
Malton again set about picking around the fringes, and whilst heroically defending Mark Calderwood suffered a fractured wrist to add to the ever growing WL injury list - Alex Hughes entered the field.
Just as M&N were gaining ground they were halted when the best centre in Nat 2 and below, Tom Jackson, secured the turnover. The lineout was kicked to the corner and a maul set up, Tim Pickersgill broke from the back and beat the first defender to set up front foot ball. This time it was Alex Hughes turn to score as he ghosted through the 13 channel to touchdown in the right corner. Keir Breakwell used his 50p foot to place the ball wide of the right post – 10-0.
The M&N kick off went out of play and WL elected for the scrum. George picked and shipped to Angus who attacked up the wing but in the very next phase the ball was knocked on. Malton quickly set back into their pattern of picking and going and eventually the WL defence creaked and they scored under the posts. 10 – 7
The next moment of note was an unnamed WL forward getting banged, picked up and the ball taken off him all in one go. Luckily Danny Booth was there to spare his blushes and force Malton into a knock on. WL were desperate to secure quick ball and Angus passed the ball as fast as he could to the left, unfortunately Angus’ fast is till slow and the M&N defender managed to intercept him, despite hints of offside.
The next score was to come when M&N were held up in the corner. A 5m scrum was awarded and the pack held the drive, but the ball was spun to the midfield and good defence from Alex Hughes was undone when the Malton forwards drove round the corner and scored next to the posts. 10-14
Half Time WL 10 – 14 M&N
Half time saw new signing John Marshall enter the field and replace Jamie Cockin, who was feeling upset at not being invited to the back row day out. John made an immediate impact, galloping past all of the M&N defenders to touch down a Keir Breakwell kick to put Wests back in front. Mallo had a go at kicking this one, he couldn’t do it either though. 15-14
The early stages of the second half saw good breaks from Tim Pickersgill and Ben Stringer, with a trademark disco spin from Duane Smith taking play up to the M&N 22. George Carpenter broke through the M&N backline, offloaded to the onrushing support, who were promptly stripped by the Malton defence, who cleared the ball to Keir Breakwell. The pressure was building though and an infringement in front of the posts provided a kickable opportunity for Luke Mallinson, who converted to give Wests an 18-14 lead.
M&N were now starting to get on top at scrum time, and from a penalty in front of the posts on WL 22 they elected for another scrum. WL pack held but the ball was spun wide and they again attacked around the fringes, picking off weak tackling to score an unconverted try. 18-19.
Worse news was to follow for Wests when Angus Milborne had to retire with a knee injury and Keir Breakwell broke his arm when throwing his weight into contact. This resulted with flanker Jamie Cockin at scrum half, and hooker Tim Pickersgill on the wing.
Wests knew that any score would secure them victory, but unfortunately could not force one as just when pressure was building the ball was stripped from the attacker and the final whistle went.
Full Time West Leeds 18 – 19 Malton & Norton
Unfortunately another defeat and it leaves Wests still waiting to win at home. Man of the match was George Carpenter for being the only forward not to get stripped, but he bottled drinking his beer so club legend Dan Baxter stood in. Mark Calderwood and Keir Breakwell are both now consigned to the long-term injury list following surgery on their respective injuries early on Sunday.
Following on from stints at 9 and 10, Captain Sam Neave - in his ‘anything a Breakwell can do I can do better’ campaign - has the choice of breaking his arm or being hit by a bus this week as he looks to emulate Keir or Cam as we travel to Bradford AND Bingley; looking for an improvement on recent results.
Updated 16:40 - 24 Sep 2018 by Daniel Baxter