West Leeds 35 - 29 York
Wests win at home in the final seconds.
I was late for the meet time as my train back from London was cancelled, I’d been to Aladdin play the night before, fantastic show, would recommend 5 stars. Interestingly however I still managed to arrive before our kit as a mystery caller had cancelled out kit was for that week, presumably thinking that if the club legend was unlikely to get back there was no point in playing.
This week saw Dom Walsh in at 9 for his home debut, with Cam moving to 10 and Eliah coming in on the wing with Mallo unavailable and John Marshall having enough tape to strap his shoulders together.
After changing in to our freshly laundered kit, still warm from the dryer nonetheless, the game got underway and WL raced into an early lead. Good build up play from the forwards, with Duane Smith and George Carpenter, took play deep into the York 22, who left enough of a gap for captain Sam Neave to scurry his way through for an early score, conversion missed. 5-0
John Marshall made a big shot in defence providing turnover ball for WL, Timmy Jackson took the ball on skittling several defenders and taking play deep into the away 22. Alex Hughes went close in the corner but next to score was Simon Mitchell, the 24 year old stuck with a 42 year old head, taking a crash ball off Dom Walsh and reaching out to dot down for a converted try, in almost identical way as the one he ‘dropped’ last week. 12-0
Having raced into a 12-0 lead it was time for WL to make things difficult, and Dec Penny was sent to the bin when he infringed whilst we were on a team warning. WL were down to 14 and with only 7 in the scrum York elected for a scrummage on the home 5m, the 7 men of WL held the scrum but York crossed from the back of the scrum as WL were caught scrambling in defence. 12-7
Two more trys followed for York as they made the most of the man advantage (and some poor kicking from a certain member of the back 3) as they went ahead 12-17 as we approached half time. 12-17
Dec reentered the field and WL were awarded a penalty on the last play of the half when York got lippy to the ref, and this week opted for posts, having learnt lessons from last weeks loss to Brid - Campbell Breakwell converting 15-17.
Half Time 15-17 – Wests looked dangerous when they had the ball in hand but were guilty of giving up too many meters in defence and were aware that both defence and discipline needed to improve in the second half.
Wests kicked to York and they took play up to the 10m line, however, the ball was turned over when fan favourite Dan Baxter expertly counter rucked (for anyone who’s seen the Will Betts video, it was the exact opposite of this) and we were back on the front foot. York infringed and Campbell Breakwell put us back in the lead 18-17.
WL exited poorly and York were on the attack again, and it wasn’t long before WL were down to 14 again, with Ste Anderson laying on the wrong side of the ruck, and waving around like a crazy wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man, rather than roll away like the ref asked. York used this to there advantage and crossed under the posts to take the lead 18-24.
As was in keeping with the game it was now time for the lead to change hands again, and a penalty was awarded in the York half, which was quickly tapped by Campbell Breakwell, who hot stepped his way over the try line for a try he converted himself. 25-24
Ste Anderson was due to return to the pitch so it was time for somebody else to take a break, unfortunately Dec forgot he had already been binned and was awarded a second yellow and sent off for the remainder of the game. York attempted to add three points but the kicker was unsuccessful.
Wests were able to creep further into the lead through the ever reliable boot of Campbell Breakwell from another penalty in the York half. 28-24.
With Dec now sent off and John Marshall on the bench it was deemed sensible to remove Dan Baxter from the pitch and ensure that our only lineout option was Ben Stringer. York quickly noticed that we were unlikely to lift our loosehead prop and double marked stringer.
Funnily enough this meant that we couldn’t win our own lineouts anymore, and York seized on this opportunity to score out wide and retake the lead with an unconverted try – 28-29.
Andy realised the catastrophic effect not having Dan Baxter on the pitch had on team morale and immediately sent the club legend back into the fray. York collected the ball deep in there own 22 and with only 1 minute remaining elected to kick it clear, giving WL a lineout on the 22m line.
It was that man, Dan Baxter, who expertly identified the space in the lineout for Ben Stringer to rise like a salmon and present quick ball for Dom Walsh. The ball was spun wide and club foot fullback Jack Marshall burst through the away defence, with brother Sam in support, with a simple 2 on 1 to put Sam away for the match winner, Jack elected to go himself and managed to touch the ball down for a try that was converted by Campbell Breakwell. 35-29
Cut to epic scenes, WL had finally won at home this season, had stopped being sh*t and got 5 league points in a great game. Man of the Match was Dom Walsh for a fantastic display at scrum half, injecting pace to the game at every opportunity.
Special mention to Rab Watt for being on and off more time than Sam Marshall’s night light, and again going really well at Loosehead. Next up we are away to Pocklington with only three games to go until the Christmas break.