04 Mar 2018 in News
Leigh East 12 Stanningley 14
By Dave Parkinson
While the rest of the National Conference League faced an enforced break due to the weather, the magnificent facilities at Leigh East ensured their game with Stanningley went ahead. And it didn't disappoint.
The contest was tight as a drum throughout and fittingly decided a couple of minutes from the end.
Both of East's previous games this season have been close and this had all those hallmarks from the first whistle. The starting front row of Jamie Waters, Pat Rainford and Louis Else was in good form and they shrugged off an early injury to James Teixeira who bravely continued for almost twenty minutes before coming from the field.
That first twenty remained scoreless before the visitors finally found a gap and exploited it through full back, Jack Smith. He in turn popped the ball out for Jack Sykes to run to the posts. Winger Liam Copland goaled to make it 6-0.
East had only three real chances in the half with wingers Josh Swift and Alex McPolin put in touch and Daniel Griffiths seeing a pass sail into touch while Adam Holland was hauled down ten metres from the line after stealing the ball.
It was 6-0 to the visitors at the break with East converting their first scoring opportunity of the second half when Rainford ducked a tackle and finished under the posts. Jordan Hellam squared things with the conversion.
The hosts continued to enjoy the bulk of possession without putting further points on the board and when their chance came, Stanningley took it. A long break out of defence by Copland set the platform before an exciting switch of play down the opposite flank resulted in a good finish by Benjamin Selby. The conversion attempt sailed wide but the visitors now led 6-10.
East continued to work hard with Hellam and Jay Yarwood industrious on both sides of the ball. A second dummy half try followed after building pressure when Andrew Ball went over. Hellam added his second goal and it was 12-10.
With nerves jangling, it looked like that would be enough to secure the win, but Stanningley had other ideas.
Visiting sub Jamaine Ruan was sinbinned but East couldn't take advantage.
Else rumbled downfield brilliantly but his kick forward was too far ahead of McPolin while the visitors snapped up possession from Holland's attempted chip. On the back of hard work by Liam Townend and Adam Benn, Stanningley went close to the line and were awarded a penalty. Rather than take a game-levelling kick at goal, they instead opted for a tap with Townend and Niall Murphy getting the ball right for Jordan Walker to squeeze over in the corner for the clincher.