Leyland Warriors 20 - Garswood Stags 42
By Phil Roberts
A great opening period from Leyland . . .
First home game of the season for the Warriors' Division 5 side against unfamiliar opponents Garswood Stags. It was the Warriors who dominated the early stages of the game and following some good approach work from the pack, it was Rob Harvey who ghosted through on the right edge to open his account for the Leyland, 4-0.
Garswood replied after shifting the ball well to make a break down Leyland's left and despite Jamie Joyce making the first of several superb cover tackles, they scored on the next play, 4-6. The Warriors worked the ball patiently up-field and when Declan Roberts took the line on and got an offload away, Connor White was in support to score, with Harvey's conversion making it 10-6.
In a carbon copy of their first try, Garswood capitalised on a break to score before Karl Smith latched onto a Harvey kick, contesting possession and forcing an error, he grounded the ball to give Leyland a 16-12 lead. Once more, the Stags showed their resilience to fight back, squeezing in at the corner to level the scores, 16-16.
As the first half drew to a close, some great defensive work from Smith pressured the Stags scrum half into forcing a pass which Ste Bryan read well, intercepting and having the legs to get to the line from 50 metres out. Harvey's conversion made it 20-16 to Leyland at the break.
The second half started brightly enough for Leyland but after an even opening period, the Stags began to slowly take command as the Warriors made a succession of unforced errors to gift the visitors possession and in a quick fire spell they added three converted tries to pull out to 20-34.
Leyland did manage to get themselves a foothold back in the game and had several sets in good field position but were unable to add to their score and sadly, the Stags superior fitness began to show and they added further tries to close the game out 20-42.
Once fatigue set in, a lack of togetherness badly affected the Warriors defensive pattern but with eight teenagers and five debutants in the side, that was always a risk, although the additional new and returning players certainly bode well for the future. Next week the team travel to Saddleworth Rangers.
Team: Jamie Joyce, Kieran Wright, Karl Smith, Matt Shaw, Alan Taylor, Rob Harvey, Declan Roberts, Nick Martin, Connor White, Josh Day, Jack Calveley, Ste Bryan, Tyler Gore, Al Smith, Sam Biggs, Matt Adamson, Dom Parkinson.