Following a warm and hospitable welcome from the West Leeds committee the clouds scattered to present ideal Rugby watching conditions. The ground was dappled in autumn sunshine with virtually no breeze. A feature that both kickers would take full advantage of.
After the previous weeks slow start Beverley were determined to impose themselves on the game from the beginning. A series of powerful plays from Beverley required some desperate tackling from the West Leeds team. Lewis Sharma making a particularly powerful break, selling a dummy and could only be stopped by a high tackle 7 metres from the West Leeds Line.
From the resulting lineout Beverley forwards gained possession with a series of pick and goes, the pressure was relentless as Beverley recycled the ball until James Graham surged for the line somehow managing to keep the ball in play for Alfie Hart Fisher pick up the ball and score in the corner after just 8 minutes. (0-5)
The calm conditions helped the kicker Phil Duboulay but nonetheless a miraculous kick saw the ball sail, high between the sticks. (0-7).
A series of exchanges in midfield once again saw Beverley building momentum and it was all West Leeds could do to stop the marauding Beverley team. After 12 minutes the sequence ended with the West Leeds captain Mark Calderwood delivering a cheap shot and rightly seeing a yellow card for his troubles.
Beverley opted to kick for touch, cleanly retained the ball from the line out and once again shifted the ball through hands until a tackle under the posts saw the ball presented to Callum Harvey who crashed over for Beverley’s second with still only 13 minutes on the clock. (0-12).
Duboulay had no problem with the conversion. (0-14)
Some indifferent handling by West Leeds saw Beverley awarded a scrum just inside the West Leeds half, superfast movement of the ball and lightening acceleration from Luke Hazel enabled Beverley to within 5 metres. Great support play from Duboulay saw him pick up the ball from the tackle to twist and turn away from the lunging West Leeds defence to crash over wide right. (0-19)
Another demanding conversion and Duboulay was once again up to the challenge slotting home a fabulous long-distance shot. (0-21)
From the restart Beverley were probing and pressurising the West Leeds defence and it was a credit to Leeds that they stood firm. After 22minutes a penalty to Beverley for “holding on” saw the Beverley attack back in the West Leeds 22. Once again, the speed of handling by the Beverley backs was exhilarating with Theo Richardson providing an evasive side step to glide into the wide left corner giving a Beverley a Bonus point try with just 22 minutes gone. (0-26)
Duboulay had clearly brought his kicking boots slotting the conversion this time from wide left. (0-28).
Fresh from his sin bin return, West Leeds captain Mark Calderwood gathered the ball just outside the Beverley 22. A mazy diagonal run creating gaps in the Beverley defence enabled him to touch down on the wide right (5-28).
Not to be outdone Keir Breakwell slotted the conversion from the far-right touchline (7-28)
This acted as a warning to Beverley and induced a sublime passage of play with rapid hands interchanging between forwards and backs and incredible support play as the ball was repeatedly off loaded finally seeing Alex Peake crash over just wide of the posts on 29 minutes. (7-33)
Duboulay slotting the kick to restore Beverley’s 4 score lead. (7-35)
West Leeds were not giving up. On 34 minutes they were awarded a penalty following an offside decision at a breakdown. They moved the ball quickly from right to left through the backs for Sam Neave to dot down in the left corner (12-35).
Another tremendous conversion from Keir Breakwell (14-35)
On the stroke of half time West Leeds conceded a penalty following a penetrating passage of play by Beverley forwards. A sensible decision to take the 3 points and restore the 4-score margin was duly delivered by Duboulay (14-38)
An exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable first half was particularly memorable for the quality of kicking from both sides.
Beverley started the second half with strong running and at times flourishes of remarkable interchanges whilst West Leeds were displaying their own periods of flair.
Isaac Keighley carried strongly releasing the ball to Lewis Sharma who crashed over only for the ball to be held up over the line.
Will Turnbull charged down a clearance kick following a spell of Beverley pressure but from the resulting scrum Beverley Knocked on to enable West Leeds to clear.
A period of capricious play from both teams ensued with neither side taking command.
All three Beverley replacements came on together providing a well-earned rest for the replaced players.
Beverley momentum continued after the replacements and on 63 minutes after a brilliant pick up from his boot laces by Duboulay the ball fell to Liam Butler whose powerful running enabled him to crash through the resolute West Leeds defence and score to the right of the posts. (14-43)
The conversion delivered by Duboulay (14-45)
Both teams were evenly matched as full time approached neither team taking command of events.
An interlude of exchanges and messy play resulted in a West Leeds Hoof down field to clear their lines with chase to follow. West Leeds number 12 Sam Neave gathered the ball and scored under the posts for a well-deserved try (19-45) that was duly converted by Keir Breakwell for the game to finish (21-45).
A word of note for the exchange referee who officiated excellently and allowed two exciting teams to provide a memorable match.