Wests headed to York looking to complete a double over last years Yorkshire 1 champions. WL had a few players returning, John Shed back for his first game of the season following successful knee surgery and Jamie Cockin on the bench after recovering from the groin strain sustained in February.
Before the game it was clear the focus placed on making sure players were all mentally and physically prepared as although Dan Baxter and Ben Stringer needed to see the physio, they had to wait for backs coach Rich Bedford to be seen first.
Wests started the game fairly well, Eliah Chitiyo putting in a mesmerising run down the right wing taking play up to the 5m line, although the final pass went missing, which was to be a theme for the day. The pressure was maintained though and Wests scored under the posts when Dom Walsh threw a dummy and raced through a gap to score a converted try. 0-7.
Wests then missed a penalty in front of the posts, Keir Breakwell put off by the slight breeze, he did get a harder one a few minutes later though, weird. 0-10.
York then did a try, 7-10, and did a few more before half time to take the score to 28-10.
Wests managed to get back in to the game in the first ten minutes of the second half, the following try is described by the ‘assister’.
WL knew they needed to score quickly after half time, so they turned to the man who, all season*, has delivered in key moments, who magicked a try out of nothing. Having expertly read the play, George Carpenter intercepted the ball and weaved through the covering defence to burst clear, before offloading the ball to the supporting Dom Walsh who crossed for his brace. Keir missed the kick, let Jack take them again. 28-15.
Wests were right back in the game only a few minutes later when Mark Calderwood crossed in the corner, following yet another good break by Eliah Chitiyo and strong carrying from the back row of Ben Stringer, Lewis Bromley and John Shed. Kicked missed, seriously can we let Jack kick again. 28-20.
Unfortunately that was to conclude Wests scoring for the day, York got a couple of penalties when Wests gave away stupid offsides and that opened the gap to 34-20. A couple of late scores added further gloss to the result for the homeside.
Final Score York 51 – 20 West Leeds
Wests were well beaten by a better side on the day, York were very impressive with the ball in hand and too often Wests forced a pass or spilt in contact.
Man of the match for WL was Eliah who looked dangerous every time he got the ball, and even the home supporters commented on his elusive running. It was good to see John Shed back after such a long layoff and it was Kirky’s first game for a few weeks. Also, backs coach Phil was unable to make the game due to being ill so we hope he’s alright for the game against Pock this week, as Bedders still requires more physio apparently.
Finally, we understand the home side had as many as 5 players back from injury, but it was nice to see Chris Fox playing after donating a kidney to his sister earlier in the season, and we hope they’re both recovering well – Photos are available on the York website, and I’ve pinched one.
Some other points of note from the day include
Club legend Dan Baxter not understanding Bluetooth
John Shed, realising that we were under pressure at the scrum demanding that we have all EIGHTEEN feet pushing at the next one #WLWT
The flooded pitch
*editors note: all season, apart from the games he’s not played or time spent in the bin
Updated 16:11 - 25 Mar 2019 by Daniel Baxter