Keep right on...
With several key players injured or unavailable West Park Leeds coach Andy Stewart reshuffled his pack.
The versatile Graham Foxton moved up to hooker while 18 year old Andy Major came into the second row. Ben "Sticky Fingers" Griffiths returned at Number 8 with the dependable Ben Morgan starting at centre.
Despite West Park dominating the opening quarter it was the visitors who took the lead on only their second attack. Centres Matt Clarke and Jack Hooper worked a neat switch move, the latter eluding several would be tacklers on his way to the line.
Scrum half Andy Lewis converted and the home men were left wondering whether their pointless opening salvo had been all in vain. The visitors looked hungrier and were coming more into the game, as fears of possible home complacency seemed justified. The feeling grew after 35 minutes when powerful backrow Kyle Sutcliffe forced his way over, the conversion doubling the away lead.
The score seemed to galvanise the home men who began to attack with renewed vigour although a 30-metre drop goal attempt that drifted listlessly wide seemed to smack a little of desperation.
In the end a home score did come, following a prolonged spell of forward pressure. Young lock Major was stopped right on the line but flanker Luke Gamble was on hand to pick up and dive over.
The conversion attempt was just short but at 5 v 14 the hosts were back in the game. The gap was narrowed further right at the start of the second half. A penalty to the away 22 led to a knock on. From the resulting scrum the ball was whipped inside, allowing fullback Andy Cromack to cruise between the posts, fly half Oli Trace converting.
The visitors responded immediately, a sustained bout of handling eventually creating space for fullback Ben Van Loo to cross on the right. On the restart play switched straight back to the away end. The energetic Gamble was held just short but the ball was quickly recycled, scrum half Jack Bickerdike darting over by the side of the posts.
Trace’s conversion brought the scores level but the visitors had one final roll of the dice, good combination play on the left seeing the pacy Hooper go in for his second well taken try with Lewis again converting.
Although little was riding on the result the home men were now fully fired up, Cromack, Ali Booth and Gamble showing some great handling skills on the left to carry the attack. Lock Danny Warden continued the move, prop big Phil Adams producing a neat offload to send replacement hooker Richard Storey crashing over, Trace’s excellent conversion tying the scores yet again.
With ten minutes to go the visitors appeared to have shot their bolt as it was all West Park now but Roundhegians continued to show great commitment to defence pulling off several try saving tackles. The hosts contributed to their cause, spurning several gilt edged opportunities and even crossing the line more than once without being able to ground the ball.
The excellent referee blew the final whistle to signal both the end of an enthralling contest and also a season that saw the hosts retain their Yorkshire Two place convincingly enough while the visitors will be plying their trade in Yorkshire Three next season. Performances like this should see them pushing for a swift return while West Park will be looking to take their late season form into the start of next season.