Headingley Carnegie stadium played host to visiting side Plymouth Albion today as the home team Leeds Carnegie hoped to continue their run of form against their mid-table rivals. Plymouth entered the match above Leeds on points difference alone, and were looking for the away victory.
The match started well for Leeds, who forced an error from Plymouth straight from the kick off, earning an attacking line out on the visitors’ twenty-two metre line. Leeds piled on the pressure, and were camped in the opposition half for the first 5 minutes of the game.
Leeds drew first blood after some excellent driving play by the forward pack, leaving the back line in an excellent position to gain quick ball through wonderful hands, allowing winger Michael Stephenson to touch down on 7 minutes. Full back Tommy Bell missed the conversion, leaving the score 5-0 to Leeds Carnegie.
Leeds continued to dominate the match, and Plymouth saw little of the ball in the first quarter. The Leeds scrum was solid, and although the line-out seemed to struggle at times, the set pieces looked good for the home side. A fantastic counter attack from Stephenson saw him set up Centre Iain Thornley to go in for the try under the posts. Bell converts, bringing the score to Leeds Carnegie 12-0 Plymouth Albion.
The visitors responded instantly with a try that left the home support scratching their heads. The ball bounced from the restart, and Plymouth Hooker Gareth Evans ran unopposed from the Leeds twenty-two to touch down in the corner. Full back James Love missed the conversion, making the score Leeds Carnegie 12-5 Plymouth Albion.
Plymouth continued to impress as the second quarter moved on, and before long Love scored his teams second try after some desperate Leeds defence left a huge gap on the right side of the pitch. Love failed to convert, leaving the score at Leeds Carnegie 12-10 Plymouth Albion.
On the stroke of half-time, Leeds were penalised for not releasing the ball in the tackle, and Plymouth full back James Love punished them for it with a sweetly struck penalty from distance. Whilst perhaps Leeds had played the better rugby, ill discipline and a few basic errors saw them lose the lead as the teams headed in for the interval.
Half Time Score: Leeds Carnegie 12-Plymouth Albion 13
The home side were obviously fired up as they came out of the tunnel for the second half, as four minutes into the game they were awarded a penalty after a fantastic scrummage effort by the front row. Tommy Bell stepped up to add the 3 points, securing the lead again. Leeds Carnegie 15-13 Plymouth Albion.
Plymouth were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes after Inside Centre Keni Fisilau was sin-binned for a high tackle on Leeds Scrum Half Craig Hampson. However, luck was to turn again for Leeds, as the Plymouth Scrum Half Ruairi Cushion touched down under the posts for Plymouths’ third try. Love converts, leaving the score at Leeds Carnegie 15-20 Plymouth Albion.
Leeds had not given up, and soon showed the desire to get back in control of the game. Some dominant play by the whole team had them camped in the opposition half for most of the last quarter, and a fantastic rolling maul led to hooker Phil Nilsen diving over for Leeds’ third try. Bell converts. Leeds Carnegie 22-20- Plymouth Albion.
A nail-biting final ten minutes saw Leeds penalised once again for ill discipline, and James Love added the three points to put Plymouth back in the lead with nine minutes to go. Leeds Carnegie 22-23 Plymouth Albion.
Despite Plymouths’ efforts, Leeds were reluctant to let the victory slip away from them in front of the home crowd. Some wonderful flowing play almost saw Iain Thornley touch down for a try, which would have resulted in a bonus-point, had he not dropped the ball over the line. Leeds were playing the advantage however, and Tommy Bell opted to kick for the posts. He slotted the three points, giving Leeds the lead once more.
Leeds continued to show passion and performance, and found themselves deep in opposition territory for the final minutes of the game. Some good pressure at the breakdown saw them awarded another penalty, and once again the eighteen year-old full back kicked the three points, securing the victory for Leeds Carnegie.
Full time: Leeds Carnegie 28-23 Plymouth Albion.
15; Tommy Bell, 14; Michael Stephenson, 13; Iain Thornley, 12; Joe Barker, 11; Stephen McColl, 10; Joe Ford, 9; Craig Hampson
1; Mike MacDonald, 2; Phil Nilsen, 3; David Young, 4; Sean Hohneck, 5; Dominic Barrow, 6; Dan Hemmingway, 7; Chris Walker, 8; Jacob Rowan.
16; Scott Freer, 17; Gareth Denman, 18; Phillip Swainston, 19; Tom Denton, 20; Robert Beck, 21; Robbie Shaw, 22; Lee Blackett
15; James Love, 14; Steve Johns, 13; Bevan Armitage, 12; Keni Fisilau, 11; Michael McGrath, 10; Paul Bailey, 9; Ruairi Cushion
1; Rob Dugard, 2; Gareth Evans, 3; Ryan Hopkins, 4; Dan Colier, 5; Tyler Hotson, 6; Samuel Hocking, 7; Wayne Sprangle, 8; James Tyas
16; Dale Farnham, 17; Tyson Lewis, 18; Paul Rowley, 19; David Morton, 20; David McGregor, 21; Addison Lockley, 22; Charles Grace