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West Leeds 26 - 24 Bradford & Bingley

By Daniel Baxter

Wests win at home again

WL were back at home and there was palpable excitement at the return of a long term absentee to the team, James Kirk returning, along with the less exciting return of club double hard man Keir Breakwell, following a long lay-off with his broken arm. Jack Marshall saw his brother Sam go on a Friday drinking sesh the week before and thought, that looks fun, and did the same this week. Daddy John Marshall needs to improve his parenting if he is to retain his place at number 8.

Anyway, WL kicked off and very quickly Yorkshire U18, 6ft colossus Eliah crossed in the far corner to put us in an early lead, Jack Marshall kicking the ball more like David Dunn than David Beckham this week and killing a few worms in the process. 5-0.

Bees hit back shortly after for a try I remember nothing about, they converted it as well. 5-7.

Bees were starting to build pressure and were camped in the WL 22, working the ball side to side, but Wests defence was holding out remarkably well, perhaps the highlight of it being second row George Carpenter ripping the ball, and kicking it clear to relieve the pressure.

Bees took play back into the WL red zone however, but an interception on his own 5m line by Sam Thornton not only stopped Bees scoring, but also put WL back in the lead, although the conversion was missed as he was chased down by the visiting second row, who having ran all that way seemed tired and fell to his knees, into Sams back. Conversion missed. 10-7.

Three minutes later and another interception saw DTR cross under the posts, scurrying away from the covering defence like a rat. Jack returned to Ruud Van Nistlerooy mode and slotted this conversion 17-7.

Moments later and Jack Marshall added a further three points shortly after as WL forced an infringement from the away side. 20-7.

A high tackle on the 9 foot visiting second row from an unknown player provided Bees with a lineout in the WL 22 and the initial defence kept out the Bees attack, but the visiting side were patient and worked the phases before crossing for a converted try. 20-14.

Half Time 20 – 14.

Almost immediately from kick off Bees infringed again and the returning Keir Breakwell add three points to the tally, with Jack having retired with his appletini diet seemingly not the best preparation for a game. 23-14.

Keir added another penalty shortly after to take the score to 26-14 and put some daylight between the scores.

I can only assume that Andy Neave decided the game was in the bag, as he removed the mercurial superstar, Dan Baxter, from the field with 20 minutes to go to gasps from the crowd, citing a need to protect the teams most vital players for the upcoming run of games.

From a Bees scrum in the WL 22 the ball was worked to the big number 8 who crossed next to the posts for a converted try to close the gap to 26-21, before adding a penalty shortly after to take the score to 26-24 and set up a nailbiting finish.

With 15 minutes remaining and WL desperate for a win, what better time to spin the ball wide on your own 5m line; surprisingly, this didn’t work out and Wests were put under pressure and the ball turned over to Bees.

The WL defence had been aggressive all day and the same intensity ensured that this mistake went unpunished, forcing a penalty which was kicked off the pitch. From the lineout the forwards set up a maul, DTR securing the ball at the back as the maul made ground. Dave broke off from the maul, drew the last Bees defender and popped in the outside man. This all sounds good, until one notes that the outside man was in fact the Bees 7 and he gleefully collected the ball and ran off.

Good scrambling defence meant that the ball was turned back to WL and they were on the attack, with an overlap out wide and seconds left. To ensure sufficient drama was on display Sam Neave decided to put in a kick, which luckily trickled out the back of the pitch, along with any hopes of a bonus point for the day, but that did mean full time and WL had won at home, undefeated at Blue Hill Lane in 2019.

Full Time 26-24.

Man of the match was John Marshall, sinner should have been Sam Neave, for kicking with a club foot all day, but his dads the coach and he picks the Motm and sinner so weirdly we didn’t have one this week.

Other points of note include

The successful return of Kirky to the front row

Jack Marshall not wanting his brother to play that badly that he dragged himself to the club.

Lewis the physio taking so much care of DTR that at one point he ran on the pitch to wipe mud from his face.

The Bees number 1 having to disappear at 60 minutes, we assume he had some beef in the slow cooker.

Next up is a bus trip to Scarborough – Please note this is a gin bus as cans make you fat #NewYearNewMe

Updated 11:46 - 23 Jan 2019 by Daniel Baxter

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