BELOW par Greetland Rangers under 17s crashed to their first league defeat of the season when they went down 42-24 to a strong East Leeds outfit at Spring Rock.
The home team started brightly with Callum Dunne’s kick off forcing a goal-line drop-out. They could not capitalise however and early errors helped East Leeds to exert some pressure of their own. Tenacious tackling led by Jozef Bird and Danny Collier ensured the visitors were kept away from Greetland’s try line.
Rangers looked increasingly confident with the ball in hand, creating several chances before George Hulme found enough space to cross for the first score. The visitors pressed again and this time they were rewarded with an unconverted try to put them back in the game.
Greetland responded well and it wasn’t long before the impressive James Turner rampaged through the East Leeds defence to score a great try. To their credit, the visitors scored a quick reply to keep themselves in the running. Inexperienced wingers Jarrett Rickman and Warren Thwaite both did well defending out wide and Greetland began to gain some control.
The final 10 minutes of the half saw Greetland have their best period of the game, despite going down to 12 men as Bird had to retire through injury. Harry Latham began to control the game from behind the ruck, whilst James Hanson made great yards with some well timed runs.
Their pressure was converted into a third try when Luke Sugden forced his way over from close range, despite the attention of several East Leeds defenders. As the clock ran down Harry Bakes was stopped just short of the visitor’s try line, but his run set up a great opportunity that Hulme pounced on with a clever grubber kick that he grounded himself. All four Greetland tries were converted by Dunne to leave the home team 24-8 up at half time.
If Greetland thought that they could build on their first half lead they could not have been more wrong. The half began badly when East Leeds gained the initiative with an early breakthrough. This seemed to lift the visitors and they dominated the half, scoring at regular intervals, helped by some poor defence from the home team.
Jordan Healey and Corey Smith never gave up for Greetland, but it seemed as though the harder they tried the more things went against them.
East Leeds cruised into a comfortable lead and produced some classy supportive rugby league as they turned the screw against a tiring Greetland defence.
More Junior Sport in Thursday’s Halifax Courier