Yarnbury 30 West Leeds 19
Having disposed of West Leeds at Brownberrie Lane, Yarnbury now ‘only’ need victory on Saturday in their derby at West Park Leeds to overtake Hullensians and clinch the Yorkshire Division Two championship.
A Yarnbury win would be a fitting end to a remarkable season, and they set this situation up with another derby victory.
Not only did the hosts triumph last Saturday but they also got the four-try bonus point which meant that victory without the added point this weekend would be sufficient.
Injuries from the RFU Senior Vase defeat to Newent the week previously may have cast doubts in some people’s minds but West Leeds were beaten in emphatic style with the help of second-teamers who rose to the occasion.
Yarnbury scored three tries in the first 30 minutes but had to wait until the 70h minute to claim the bonus point, such was the commitment and competitive nature of the visitors.
The hosts took the lead in front of a big crowd who were buoyed by their Twickenham ex-perience and wanted more flowing rugby.With the experienced Stephen Riley at fly half, Yarnbury pressed from the kick-off, immediately taking the play to West Leeds.
After five minutes, an interchange of passes in the forwards led to wing-forward Tom Gilcrist crashing over near the posts, Jarrod Huss converting to give the Brownberrie Lane side a deserved lead.
Rob Rigby then had a terrific run down the left, only to be stopped by a determined defence. With Riley pinning the opposition back with probing line kicks, West Leeds were penalised for holding on on the floor, and Huss converted a penalty near the posts.
For a similar infringement, the former Baildon player added another penalty soon after to open up an 11-point lead.Riley then glided through a gap in the middle of the park with ease and slipped the ball to centre Lee Mortimer to score right of the posts, Huss again adding the extras.
Riley gave way to Dave Jones after 20 minutes, and the latter immediately got the attacking play moving down centrefield. Drawing the cover, he gave a sweet reverse inside pass to the incoming Alex Clark to weave his way over the line near the posts. Huss’ conversion opened up a 25-point gap for the home side.
But it was all credit to the visitors, who stepped up their efforts and took the game by the scruff of the neck through their forwards, No 8 James Kirk scoring too easily after bursting through three defenders to score near the posts for fly half Scott Evans to convert.
Half-time was looming and Yarnbury again let in the opposition, tricky centre Sam Neave diving over from a ruck for an opportunist try and Evans added the extras to bring West Leeds back into a game that was nearly out of sight after 30 minutes.
In the second half, Yarnbury put themselves under pressure in their own half by too many dropped passes as West Leeds attacked but with the back row of Jimmy Cryan, Gilcrist and captain Oliver Cashman making good yards, the backs were able to clear their lines.
Scrum half Nathan Benton was also having a good game and his passes were giving the fly halves time to put boot to ball.
Winger Alex Clark was put away down the right but good covering from winger Danny Booth saved a certain try before Jason Avison made the break and cut in towards the posts, only to be stopped just short after a 50-metre run.
Then Rigby looked dangerous but lost the ball on the five-metre line in the tackle. It was left late but another of several penalties was kicked to the corner on the right.
Then basketball-playing second row James Falgate rose magnificently to take a Chris Doyle line-out and pounce to put the ball over the line before the West Leeds defence could organise for the bonus-point try. Jones missed the conversion but it hardly seemed to matter.