Middleton-based Leeds Corinthians RUFC travelled to Halifax Vandals yesterday (19 October 2019) with a 100 percent, 5 from 5 record, but knowing this is always one of the toughest places to visit in Yorkshire. Also, there was a last minute defeat last season fresh in the mind. Leeds knew to make it 6 from 6 they would need to be at at their very best.
Leeds won the toss choosing to play up the hill first half.
The first 10 minutes was all Vandals with their game plan clear to see. Keeping Leeds pinned in their 22 with some clever kicking by Vandals. Leeds defence stayed strong and forced a number of mistakes from Vandals allowing Leeds to clear. The next ten minutes was very evenly matched with great defence by both teams.
The first real chance came when Leeds winger James Addis knocked on from the high ball, giving Vandals an attacking scrum deep in Leeds’ 10m. Corinthians massive defence held out with Neil Orr leading the team by example with some great defensive work. Corinthians’ first chance came from a Vandals dropped ball in their own half. Continued pressure allowed Neil Orr first sight on goal from a penalty and he converted: 0-3.
Again the Vandals came back at Leeds, but again Leeds held strong. A lot of credit goes to the front row of Wilkinson, Cassar and Harrison who were playing against bigger opposition but never took a backward step. Leeds got their first venture into the Vandals’ half due to a very good turnover by Scrum Half Avison. This led to a great miss pass by Danny Boyes hitting prop Wilkinson out wide, it looks like he has been watching Sinckler’s play for England. Wilkinson passed to Whickham who took the tackle. Leeds now piled their own pressure on and put together a good number of phases. This led to another good back move and again found Wilkinson, who this time crashed over for the try. With the conversion by Neil Orr, Leeds went in at half time leading 0-10.
The Vandals needed a quick start to the second half and that’s what they got. A knock on from the kick off by lock Max Patten allowed early pressure from the Vandals who eventually made the breakthrough. They missed the conversion: 5-10.
Next on the scoresheet was Neil Orr who took the opportunity from the penalty spot for an offside offense: 5-13. The game really upped a gear now with both teams going at each other.
Next to rise to the occasion was the Vandals’ 10, taking the game to Leeds and dancing through three missed tackles to score a good try under the sticks. The conversion brought Halifax within one point of Leeds at 12-13. Leeds rallied with a great drive by Max Patten and the quick ball by Avison leading to Neil Orr crashing over. Corinthians were unable to add the conversion leaving the score 12-18.
The Vandals fought back and with great maul work up the hill and managed to score in the corner. Again there was no conversion leaving the game at 17-18 with 20 minutes to go. Leeds had a chance to extend their lead but missed the penalty. With 12 minutes to go the Vandals took the lead with their own penalty: 20-18.
Thoughts of last year were fresh in the mind, but Leeds have been in this situation a few times this year and they set about taking the game to the Vandals. The first opportunity fell to Neil Orr from the penalty spot, but again the Vandals got away with it as he missed the kick, but from the resulting 22 Leeds again piled the pressure on. Up stepped Danny Lawton with some good feet to finish nicely in the corner followed by a great conversion from Neil Orr: 20-25 with 3 minutes to go.
The Vandals threw everything at Leeds, but Leeds’ defence held strong with Neil Orr stealing the ball and clearing as the final whistle went. It was a very good second half for the neutral. Leeds take the win and move on, 6 wins from 6.
Final score Halifax Vandals 20-25 Leeds Corinthians
The Leeds team really appreciated the large number of travelling supporters.
Man of the Match – Neil Orr
Up next – Castleford at home Saturday 26 October, kick off: 3pm. Leeds Corinthian’s ground is Nutty Slack, next to Middleton Leisure Centre, off Middleton Ring Road, LS10 4AX.
Leeds Corinthians: Andy Wilkinson, Joshua Cassar, Reece Harrison, Max Patten, Neil Orr, Will Craven, Danny O’Connor, Ben Walker, Adam Avison, Danny Boyes, Aaron Whickham, Danny Lawton, Chris Brown, James Addis, Ellis Robinson. Subs: Jamie Fletcher, Andy Gibney, Ryan Croft
This post was written by Andrew Cassar
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