West Leeds RUFC 2nd XV 37-36 Wharfedale RFC 3rd XV
This week we feature the unsung West Leeds 2nd XV – mainly because they deserve a mention for the terrific season they are having and coincidently because your correspondent failed to reset his watch when he returned from his latest trip on Friday, writes Glenn Broadbent.
If you are not familiar with the structure of rugby union, then a second team victory over a third team may seem predictable so to put this into context it’s a bit like Leeds United reserves playing Barcelona’s development team. West Leeds being the United and, in some ways, Wharfedale being Barca.
The game got off to a flying start with West Leeds converting a penalty kick in the second minute 3-0.
They added a try and conversion three minutes later for 10-0 and it looked for a while as if it would be one-way traffic but soon after the restart ‘dale hit back despite some formidable defending from the home side. 10-7.
In what became tit for tat responses West Leeds extended their lead with another penalty 13-7. The trend continued for much of the game with some entertaining and for the most part highest quality rugger.
Wharfedale took control and with two converted tries took the score to 13-21 but with half-time approaching Wests found a way back and a try and conversion made it 20-21 and just before the break a clear penalty put them in the lead.
I said to a colleague in the press box (tea hut really) “that’s it then” but as usual I was wrong – ‘Dale made a fabulous breakaway try to put HT score in their favour 23-26.
The second half was a more controlled affair and it took twenty minutes before the scoreboard moved, yet this was an entertaining 20 minutes with some fine skills on display particularly from the portly Wharfedale wing.
It was he who was the centre of a much-disputed call by the touch judge who ruled him out of play when it was clear for all to see he was in play. It was great to see Wharfedale players accept the decision with good a smile and good banter.
The scoring started again on 60 minutes with an interception try from Wests from their own 22 and some passing moves which would have graced any Yorkshire Division One game resulted in a converted try for 30-26.
Tom Philips the drove on with a get out of jail try again converted 37-26.
With six minutes left the visitors would not let this one go and fought back through a forward dominated try under the posts 37-33. Two minutes later a penalty saw them bring the game within their grasp 37-36 and that is how it ended.
A thoroughly entertaining afternoon and West Leeds now sit in second place in a division with many National League sides. This is a testament to the dedication of the coaching staff and the youth development at the club.
Meanwhile the first XV continued their promotion challenge with a 5-51 victory at Hullensians, who fielded two players over the age of 50. Rugby league is still winning the day in the UK City of Culture.