West Leeds 38 - 13 West Hartlepool
Wests complete another double
A bumper crowd, including some old faces, turned up at Blue Hill Lane, presumably to celebrate club legend Dan Baxter’s 27th birthday as we welcomed West Hartlepool to Blue Hill Lane for the first time. The ‘class of 98’ (West Leeds first ever squad to reach Twickenham) reunited for such a special occasion, with even Jamie Cockin unable to resist being involved in such a momentous event. It was also nice to see Sean White, former second team captain and olympic gold medalist, again who was to be the games match official.
An early meet for this seasons team photo meant that every one was out and warming up much earlier this week, although the warm weather seemed to throw a few players pre match routines, having become accustomed to playing in rain, snow, sleet and hail for what seems like the entire season.
Eventually 3pm rolled around and we got underway, a good platform was set up by the forwards and almost immediately the elusive Stef James burst in to the line, racing through a gap and putting Danny Booth away to score in the corner. Dale missed the conversion, presumably still feeling the effects of last weeks trip to Las Vegas.
A knock on from kick off, and then some classic West Leeds cheating, gave West a penalty in front of the posts which Gav Painter duly converted.
A break down the right hand side of the pitch by the clubs creative masterminds, Sam Neave and Dan Baxter, was abruptly halted due to a heinous tackle by the West Hartlepool fly-half, with many of the crowd observing that the ten was lucky to remain on the pitch. Referee White realised that to stop such a creative force must have been down to skulduggery and awarded a penalty. Dale went for posts and missed again, but from the resulting 22m drop out West failed to kick the ball out of their own 22. From the resulting scrum the ball was spun wide, for Mark Calderwood to bulldoze over his opposite number for a try in the John Shed corner, converted by Dale.
Another try was to follow with vice captain Tom Jackson benefitting from some excellent lineout play, the ball was spun quickly off the top. The previous trys were all out wide and Sam Neave, spotting the drifting defence by West decided to send in Timmy ‘the fodder’ Jackson on a pop ball, the classy inside centre ghosting through a gap between the Hartlepool 12 and 13 with only the full back to beat, fantastic footwork from Jacko saw him cross for a try under the sticks, a conversion that Dale just about managed to get.
A poor restart from West Leeds put us under pressure in our own twenty two, and after trying to outpace the defence captain Neave threw the ball in to touch for no apparent reason. The pressure from the Hartlepool side resulted in another penalty, converted by Painter.
From kick off, a good chase by the ever enthusiastic Lewis Bromley put West under pressure in their own 22, and Wests had a lineout in the West half. Good running from Jamie Cockin and Archie put Wests on the front foot and a break in the centre of the pitch should have led to a try, Joe Bedford over the line reaching out to ground the ball inexplicably threw the ball forward and the score went missing.
Wests weren’t to be kept out for long though and a slick move by the backs saw Calderwood break through the line, before a lovely inside pass put Dale Breakwell over for the bonus point try which he converted himself.
Half Time West Leeds 26 – 6 West Hartlepool
Almost immediately from kick off it was try time again with Danny Booth expertly finishing a flowing move in the Garage corner for his 17th league try of the season, converted by Dale.
The Leeds side seemed to struggle to find their rhythm again in the second half, and credit must go to the Hartlepool defence for making things much more difficult in the second half. West looked after the ball much better in the second half and a gap in the defence led to a try for Scott Butcher, converted by Painter.
Wests remained under pressure in their own twenty two, defending several scrums on their own 5m line, conceding a couple of penalties, and were perhaps lucky to get away with not conceding further pointes after our customary spell of seeing how much cheating can be done in five minutes. Some good tackling from Dan Bird, Stef James and John Shed keeping the men in green out.
The final score was to be with West Leeds who, capitalising on a broken field, won back the ball to counter hard. A loose ball was collected by Lewis Bromley who offloaded to the supporting Dan Baxter, who used all of his experience to get tackled and set up quick ball for the backs. It was passed through a number of hands, Stef handing off to Danny Booth, on to Dale to then find that man, Tom the flash Jackson on the wing. West Hartlepools defence had scrambled well and Jackson had a 2 on 1 with the visiting winger, who had backtracked well. His efforts however were in vain when the 17stone Flash used the peoples hand off to score in the clubhouse corner in front of the adoring home fans. Dale missed the kick again.
Full Time West Leeds 38 – 13 West Hartlepool
This result, coupled with results elsewhere, meant the relegation of both West Hartlepool and Northern, and commiserations to both. Both clubs were very hospitable to us in the away fixtures, and in my opinion any bus trip losts in a massive tragedy.
Saint was Danny Booth for two fantastic trys and some great runs throughout the game
Sinner was Sam Neave (Crabbies amateur player of the year) for throwing the ball into touch under no pressure what so ever.