Beverley 24-34 West Leeds
A highly entertaining afternoon at Beaver park with ten tries, 5 yellow cards plenty of flowing rugby but Beverley ending up on the wrong end of a 24 -34 scoreline. It was clear from the off that both teams’ intent and ability to attack was greater than the organisation of their defences. Within two minutes a sweeping move to the left with slick handling by Rob Smith and Dan Lee allowed Luke Hazell the luxury of time to slip recover and run over from 30 metres out. 5-0 Beverley. The dose was repeated again 5 minutes later with Hazell rounding his opposite number to dash over from within his own half. West Leeds did well to compose themselves after these early setbacks and replied with an equally well-constructed try for their fly half.
The bounce-back continued when they levelled, and then took the lead with a brace of tries which showcased the ability of their forwards to offload and bust through the Beavers fringe and mid field defence. Too many tackles were being shrugged off far too easily. 17 -12 to West Leeds after just 16 minutes. The game then became scrappy with several questionable tackles from both sides going unpunished and Jacob Baggs ending up with a yellow card after an ill-judged challenge on the full-back when chasing a kick. The visitors took advantage with the man over with a well-worked line out resulting in their industrious number 8 burrowing over from close range 12-24. The Beavers managed to regroup and grab foothold in the game when Hazell again went on a surging run up the left-hand side brushed off several defenders and raced over from inside his own half to complete his hattrick, 19 -24 at halftime.
The second half was less productive in terms of points and became a tense and ill-tempered affair as both sides wrestled for ascendency, with four yellow cards being split between the teams for niggly offences. The visitors gained the vital breakthrough when their pack, who were beginning to retain possession and dictate proceedings at this stage, scored again from close range to stretch the lead to 19 – 29 in the 53rd minute. From this point the Beavers were chasing the game but began to create a number of chances as at last they managed to retain some possession and the pack lead by strong carries by Morris, Harvey and Slater pinned Leeds in their 22. A couple of darts for the line by Duboulay, stopped by what appeared to be a high tackle, and Franklin thwarted by the post!!!, went close. However, it took until the 72nd minute for crisp passing by the backs sent Jacob Baggs over in the corner 24-29.
The Beavers looked to do a Quins and pull it out of the fire at the last, but to be fair West Leeds managed the final stages of the game well with their pack and scrum-half controlling the game well. Indeed they launched a fluent attack of their own which led to their pacy full-back touching down to make sure the game was theirs. The Beavers can probably take some confidence from the game but at the same time need to learn some lessons when reviewing the tape.