West Leeds 32 – 12 Bridlington
Wests sign off in style
The Blue Hill Lane Arena was bathed in sunlight for the final fixture of the season and for the first time in a few seasons there was nothing riding on the result. A bumper crowd was out as our generous sponsors looked to be rewarded with the free flowing rugby you would expect from a team featuring Messrs Jackson, Baxter and Bromley.
Wests decided to get the ill-discipline out of the way early doors this week and conceded a penalty for going off their feet at the ruck, although we were let off as the Brid 10 missed a kick just to the left of the uprights.
Some strong running from the Brid 7, which would be a feature throughout the game, put WL on the back foot. Dale Breakwell managed to halt one Brid attack with his nose and had to depart for medical treatment whilst his head was taped back together.
The pre match scanning drill obviously having worked a treat as the Brid 10 had a field day early on popping the ball to supporting runners and pi**ing clean through, only some great scrambling defence from Danny Booth and Steffan James keeping them out.
WL did however infringe again at the breakdown and Brid kicked to the corner and set up a maul, great defence by the WL pack halted the drive but a great line from the opposition 12 provided them with a try under the sticks, the conversion was however missed.
Wests were again on the back foot, however, Crabbies amateur player of the year Sam Neave (image rights available for the 2018/19 season) used all of his creative talent to boot the ball up the other end of the pitch, Mark Calderwood outpacing the Brid defence to touch down in the John Shed corner.
The game continued to be a tight affair with both defences performing well, Calderwood continued to run the ball in with such force that could knock over a telegraph pole but there was no way through the Brid line. Eventually WL managed to gain a penalty in the Brid half which Dale Breakwell converted.
From kick off Dan Baxter expertly claimed the kick-off having let it bounce, offloaded to John Shed who carted it up before passing the ball on to the onrushing Archie Rika-Rayne. Archie ran a great line and was only just stopped, however, Archie decided it was vitally important that we gained a few extra meters and proceeded to army crawl forward with the ball under his arm in full view of the referee. Penalty Brid and they again kicked to the corner.
The WL pack repelled the driving maul, but Brid were now camped on the WL 5m line and battering away at the home defence. Steven Anderson put in a monstrous hit to drive back one Brid runner and the next was met with equal ferocity by Dec Penny, eventually WL had defended there way forwards twenty meters and Steven Anderson turned the ball over and 8 minutes of brilliant defence
Half Time – WL 10 – 5 Bridlington
The second half got under way and Wests put themselves a score ahead through a routine Dale Breakwell penalty, unfortunately from the resulting kick off Dan Bird dropped the ball (no blame culture) and Wests were on the back foot again.
From the resultant scrum Wests conceded a penalty, much to the annoyance of Duane Smith who had consistently got the better of his opposite number in the first half. Bridlington kicked to the corner and called a 6 man lineout, dropping the east cost Thor (Brid 7) to first receiver.
Somehow the WL defensive line hadn’t quite realised what was going to happen next and the Brid 7 ran clean through to score under the sticks, this time the kick was good and it was game on once again.
Dec Penny, having mastered the chop tackle, decided to go for a few big shots up top, from one he started his tackle on the chest and finished on the eyebrow. Referee was less than impressed and sent him for ten minutes.
Some great defence from Bedford and Jackson featured as WL continued to repel the Brid attacks before Dan Bird intercepted the ball, which was spun to Stef James who broke through the scrambling defence and then expertly put away the two on one with the fullback to send Danny Booth over under the posts. Converted by Stef.
Wests now began to step up a level and the pressure started to tell as the Brid defence creaked, the ever enthusiastic Lewis Bromley going close but just managing to knock on over the line rather than scoring.
Brid started to fall on the wrong side of the penalty count and with a penalty in front of the posts captain Sam Neave elected for the scrum. The forwards got the nudge on but couldn’t quite be dynamic enough to secure the pushover try. Dec Penny however decided enough was enough and squirreled over for a try under the sticks, converted by Stef.
With three minutes remaining Dan Baxter was removed from the field of play to a standing ovation (Think Alan Shearer testimonial). Surprisingly however with the creative mastermind removed from the field of play Wests still managed another score, Calderwood breaking up the clubhouse touchline before popping the ball out of the back door to the supporting Danny Booth who secured his brace. Touchline conversion was missed by Stef.
We were now on to last play and Danny Booth keen to secure the leagues top try scorer title refused to let anyone else have a go, collecting the ball and fantastically butchering a four on one by refusing to pass and it was game over.
Full Time – West Leeds 32 – 12 Bridlington - pictures from the game can be seen here and thanks to John Ashton for coming down to the game!
This brought an end to the season and unfortunately also the playing career of Joe Bedford who has now retired following an impressive career.
Post match entertainment this week was the stars in their eyes event, with Archie Rika-Rayne stealing the show with his rendition of Soul Man. Many big names sang at the night with the Kings of Leon, Lionel Richie, Shania Twain and Billy Ocean also joining the competition.
This brings an end to a successful senior season, West Leeds 1st XV finished third in North 1 East whilst the Mavericks are winners of the Yorkshire Merit League – Championship North.