Rishies unable to pull game out of fire

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Old Rishworthians 30

West Leeds 34

Rishworthians lost this Yorkshire Two game in the first 10 minutes and then might have won it with the last play.

After last week’s fine win at Sheffield Medicals, it was a disappointing performance for coach Damian Ball, who came on off the bench in the second half to drive his men forward.

And with the last play of the game, they almost snatched it. Lock Frank Watene brushed aside would-be tacklers in a 50-yard burst from his own 22.

When he was finally stopped, the ball was recycled a couple of times before Ball put out a long floating pass to the wing.

Although it was fumbled, it appeared to go backwards and fullback Matthew Hunt-Brown picked up to cross in the corner. But the referee ruled the ball had been knocked forward and blew for time.

It made them rue the first 10 minutes, when they were caught cold by a lively West Leeds outfit, who attacked from the kick-off.

The home side gave away the first of too many penalties and found themselves under siege on their own line.

Although they won a scrum against the head, scrum half Gary Morris could not get the ball away and a West Leeds flanker touched down.

More penalties saw Rishworthians forced back again and from a lineout the ball went along the line for the visitors to score a converted try in the corner.

After 10 minutes the Copley men found themselves 12 points adrift. A series of penalties followed. Left wing Joe Billing clawed back three points, before West Leeds cancelled it with a penalty of their own.

Billing added two more before stand-off Josh Kelly dropped a goal. The visitors kicked two more penalties before Billing added another for the home side with the last kick of the first half to make it 15–21.

Right wing Danny Hoyle regathered the ball from his side’s kick-off to start the second half with an attack which yielded a further penalty for Billing.

Just as Rishworthians seemed to be coming back a clever kick was gathered by the visitors’ right wing to touch down in the corner.

Ball came on to replace the injured Kelly and drive his men on. Nick Faulkner put in a strong run and the ball was recycled for Ball’s quick switched pass to put flanker Gerard Rollings in for a try.

Then in a strong forward drive Watene slipped the ball to James Clarke for the No 8 to power over. Billing converted to give Rishworthians a 30–26 lead.

West Leeds hit back almost straight away and despite some strong home defence the ball was sent wide for the left wing to squeeze over in the corner. Two minutes late they increased the lead with a penalty to 34–30.

In the final minutes they kept Rishworthians pinned in their own half until Watene broke through for what might have brought a home winner.

In a Merit League away fixture, Rishworthian seconds beat Cleckheaton thirds 22-5 with a try by Paul McCumiskey and two more tries, two conversions and a penalty by Lee Atkinson.