Leading by ten points with as many minutes to go West Park Leeds looked set to claim the match points until a late lapse in concentration allowed West Leeds to steal the game at the death.
The hosts dominated possession in the opening quarter, taking a deserved lead with a try by centre Sam Emerton after 18 minutes. In the confined spaces of the restricted home pitch play switched quickly from end to end. Earlier a 40 metre break from the base of the scrum by skipper John Fletcher had gone unsupported.
The visitors hit back immediately after the score, launching their heavy artillery down the left in the shape of prop Jonathan Stott and lock Josh Malkinson. When the fly half switched the direction of play centre Ollie Trace showed typical enterprise, dancing through the narrowest of gaps to cross behind the posts, Chris Bailey-Gibbs tagging on the conversion to give his side the lead.
West Leeds conceded a penalty from the restart, taking play back to the home 22 where a long forward drive resulted in Stott hurling his burly frame over in the right corner to extend the away lead.
The hosts levelled early in the second half, flanker James Kirk going over from a 5 metre scrum to level the scores. The visitors responded with one of several sweeping backs moves that somehow failed to produce scores.
The away scrum was totally dominant, the hosts responding by standing up at virtually every second half scrum without incurring the referee’s wrath. However, it was a scrum on the left that saw the lead regained, fullback Andy Cromack linking on the blindside to cross wide on the left.
The lead increased on 65 minutes when yet another close range scrum crumbled but No 8 Fletcher had the presence of mind to pick up and dot down to take the score to 12 v 22. Crucially, neither conversion attempt was on target.
Home penalties on 70 and 72 minutes from inside the 22 cut the gap but the true heartbreak came with only two minutes to go. In a frantic finish the away backs had been reshuffled, defensive rock centre Brad Pryjmachuk taking an early rest. A defender broke early and replacement fullback Keir Breakwell scampered through the inviting gap to claim the win.
The truth is that either side would have been aggrieved at failing to win in a game where both sides had spells of ascendancy. Winning is a habit that West Park seem to have lost of late but they have a good opportunity to find it again when they host lowly Moortown on Saturday.