A tough week at WL this week, with the confirmation that Luke Waite will be missing for the foreseeable future, due to a thumb shaped bald patch on his head.
Wests had struggled in recent weeks so the coaches decided to mix things up, with no less than 5 hookers in attendance at Blue Hill Lane, although not the high class ones certain members of the club are used to.
The bold strategy involved filling the three bench spots with hookers; Archie Rika-Rayne, Dave Gregory and Joel Briere - Tim Pickersgill just missing out by virtue of actually being able to play another position.
The referee laid the law down early, refusing to let a certain club legend nip to the little boys room and giggling with glee when he realised quite how desperate the situation was. With an eclectic playlist and a good warm up out of the way, Jack Marshall turned up and WL were able to kick off with the wind at our backs.
It appears that news of the WL hooker tactics had leaked out to the east coast, with Scarbs deciding to try something a bit different - making there fly half pack down at tighthead. The Scarborough skipper possessing a bigger dummy than the one George Carpenter spat out on Tuesday night.
The first score was to Scarbs, under the sticks, and despite appearing to be held up the ref awarded the try, presumably as punishment for WL being stupid enough to buy the dummy in the first place. 0-7.
The old phrase ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’ does not quite seem to have made its way to West Yorkshire and it wasn’t long before Wests were under the posts again. 0-14.
Yet another WL injury was suffered in this passage of play, Dec Penny being forced to retire from the game with pink eye and another hooker, DTR, entering on the flank.
Wests now managed to keep the ball a bit better and a fantastic break up the midfield by none other than Archie Rika-Rayne saw play taken up from the half way line into the Scarbs 22. Spectators remarking how one man can seem to be moving their limbs so fast, yet moving so slowly.
Wests went close to scoring but ended up with a 5m scrum. The scrum has been an area WL have struggled at in recent weeks, however, with coach John the Scrum in attendance this week the pack decided they best try this week, and TRY they did. 7-14 taking John Marshall to joint top try scorer in the process.
It was now game on and Wests knew they could cause problems to Scarbs if they could keep the ball. Rather than do this however, we decided to cheat, and Ste Anderson was sent for 10m on the naughty step. During this period Wests managed to maintain parity at the scrum with powerhouse winger Jack Marshall moving on to the flank.
Unfortunately by doing so this created gaps outwide, which were duly exploited by Scarborough who raced into a 26-7 half time lead, securing a try bonus point, helped by some poor tackle choices and more falling for the Scarborough tight-head fly halfs dummy.
DTR suffered a dead leg, but not to worry, WL had another hooker on the bench to come on at flanker, in the form of Joel Briere.
Being a man down cost WL dearly on the scoreboard and left us with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Half-Time West Leeds 7 – Scarborough 26
Wests knew an early score was important and WL saw a glint of hope when 6th fastest man in the club, Tom Jackson, barged his way over of an important score. 12-26
Immediately from kick off WL were back under pressure due to a poor exit, for any pokemon fans out there – Archie used dig. The Scarborough tighthead flyhalf continuing to pull the strings and putting them in for another try in the corner. 12-31.
This time it was Scarboroughs turn for a poor exit, kind of, the ball was collected perfectly, booted down field sweetly from the away 22, to run out the back, helped by Storm Callum. Scrum in the Scarbs 22 to WL.
WL had been on top at the scrum all game and this time was no different, front foot ball allowing Luke Mallinson to cut a fantastic line and cross in the corner for an unconverted try. 17-31.
Only two minutes later and it was try time again, Ben Stringer breaking the line and galloping up the pitch like a young Dan Baxter, caught by the scrambling defence, but the ball was spun wide and Eliah Chitiyo crossed for another unconverted try. 22-31
Wests had battled there way back in to contention, it was only right therefore that we took our foot off the gas, another poor exit providing the opportunity for the Scarborough prop to again dummy his way through the WL defence, this time scoring himself. 22-38
We now had a lot to do, and a good chase from the kick off was matched by an equally good box kick, taking play up to the WL 5m line. Luke Mall, always keen to test himself, decided to attempt a 20m pass, off his bad hand, over the Scarborough second row, to Sam Neave, who only had two defenders to beat in his own dead ball area.
Surprisingly, this didn’t go to plan and Scarbs were awarded a 5m scrum. Despite the best efforts or Rab (Watt is his last name) WL couldn’t turn the ball over and the ball was popped to the onrushing centre who barrelled his way over under the posts. 22-45
Another injury was to follow, Jack Marshall ending up face down in the dirt and the ref sent him for a HIA. Interestingly, the opportunity to play on the wing coincided with a miraculous recovery from injury for Dave Gregory who skipped on to the wing.
WL continued to try and score, Scott Coyne going close with several rolls towards the line, DTR getting stopped just short and Duane Smith not quite being able to use his snake hips to disco spin through the defence. An infringement gave WL a scrum 5m out and another score followed for John Marshall as the pack marched over the line as John moved to top try scorer in the club with his 3 trys this season.
FULL TIME – 27 – 45
There are at least some positives to take out of this week, John moves up to top try scorer, Eliah continues to never have not scored at home, the scrum was vastly improved on previous weeks, there were enough hookers to go around and we got one league point – not to mention a positive contribution from Joel Briere, who brought the speaker for the changing room.
Big improvement is still required, especially in defence, but some sign of improvement is there. Man of the match for WL was Eliah Chitiyo who continuously probed the Scarborough defence, whilst MOTM for Scarbs was the dummying prop, who, despite struggling at scrum time, ran the game from first receiver.
Next up is Cleckheaton away.
Updated 15:15 - 15 Oct 2018 by Daniel Baxter