Flair proved to be no match for brute force on Wednesday as a creative Leeds Uni 2nd cruelly and controversially defeated 32-25 by their Met counterparts at Becketts Park.
The first half began a scrappy affair, with both sides forcing out errors in the opposition. Harry Thorogood was able to put points on the board for Uni after just two minutes through a penalty, but the Met fly half returned the favour soon after, and the game already looked tense and finely poised. Another Thorogood penalty gave the Gryphons a slender 6-3 lead early on.
It was Uni who settled into the game first though, as they turned on the style later on in the first half. Thorogood’s surging run broke through the Met line of defence before he found the rapid Toby Bentley on the right wing, who charged towards the corner before finding Rob Hollingsworth inside to score the opening try. Uni’s fly half added two more.
Met didn’t waste time in responding though, scoring a try from a penalty opportunity. The conversion was kicked by the Met fly half and the hosts had cut the deficit to three points.
Uni almost extended their lead just before half time. Thorogood – who was at the heart of all things creative for the boys in green – found Harry Wrighton, who popped the ball out wide to Bentley, but the winger lost control of the ball ten metres out. Regardless, the Gryphons looked good value for their 13-10 lead at half time.
The Gryphons were quick out of the blocks after the break and only took two minutes to score another try, this time Wrighton applied the finish to an intricate passing move and Thorogood again converted.
Met soon cut down the advantage again though, as their pack pushed the ball over the line. Another conversion followed, and Met again cut the deficit to three points. This time Met were able to gather momentum and take the lead for the first time, through a converted penalty try following a strong scrum for the home team.
With just ten minutes left the Gryphons continued to push for the win, and their moment came when Tom Moncur danced around the defenders to score the try for a 25-24 lead.
The game was to end in controversy though. Met were awarded a penalty which was kicked by the fly half. One touch judge – from Met – awarded the kick, whilst the other – from Uni – did not. It wasn’t clear whether the ball did clear the posts or not, but the goal stood.
Then, at the death of the game, Met provided the killer blow as a Uni line out was intercepted by the opposition loose forward, who scored the final try and ended the contest. The kick was missed, but it mattered little as the final whistle blew straight away. Uni couldn’t quite match the strength of the Met pack, but they showed flashes of brilliance at times and were unlucky to lose this game.
Photos: Miranda Inman