After what only can be described as a fantastic game of Rugby, a score line of 22-6 in favour of Leeds Beckett will be a hard one to swallow for the University of Leeds Rugby League 1sts.
Keith Sandhu’s men matched their opponents in all areas of the pitch for long periods of the game, only to be punished for a number of mistakes made in the final phases of promising attacks.
An overcast, but dry Weetwood was the setting for this 10th anniversary Varsity game between the two rivals and it was Beckett, who have won the BUCS Championship for nine consecutive years, who got the game underway. Uni had the better of the opening exchanges with the Gryphons’ second-row, Lawrence Chittil, breaking through Beckett’s defence after five minutes only to be denied by a last ditch tackle from Beckett’s pacey fullback. Minutes later, a crunching tackle made by Uni’s Jack Blagbrough, resulting in a turnover, cemented Uni’s dominating start and provoked this year’s now traditional 26 man ‘Varsity scrap’.
The last 10 minutes of the first half saw Beckett slowly edge into the game, forcing Uni to defend well. However, lapses in concentration on the wing led to a Beckett overlap, which they duly took advantage of to score the first try of the game. Minutes later, Beckett went over in the corner once again for an almost identical try, making the score at half time 10-0.
Uni fans were handed a glimmer of hope after ten minutes of the second half when prop George Lane scored under the posts after a brilliant offload from Jack Blagbrough. A successful conversion followed, making the score 10-6 to Beckett.
Unfortunately, Uni’s comeback never really materialised and despite Beckett having a man sent off in the last 10 minutes after a punch was thrown, they ran in two more tries past a tiring Uni defence. Despite the result, Uni impressed many with the nature of their performance and hope this will act as motivation for the season ahead.
Uni winger Harry Purnell said after the game: “For the first 60 minutes we matched them man for man, and that’s something we can be really proud of.”