Leeds Batter York in Rugby Thriller

YORK suffered a crushing defeat against Leeds women on Wednesday afternoon. Due to Leeds’ dominant possession and their strong attack from the outset, York were in for a tough game.

Straight after kick-off, the ball was driven into York’s half, posing a threat to the opposition early on. York fought back with a lot of tackles, stalling Leeds’ advancement through their half. However, this wasn’t enough as Leeds prop Dominique Nielsen scored the first try of the game within 5 minutes of play, side-stepping past the defence.

The struggle to gain territory persisted for York as a strong line of passing cut up the York defence. Ending up in the hands of the full-back, the ball was run down the best part of York’s half and looked like a try could have been scored. Just a couple of collapsed scrums later and Neilsen found her way to the try-line for her second try of the match, just 15 minutes into the first half. After a successful conversion from fly-half Hannah Morton, it was fair to say that so far, Leeds had been dominating the match with the current score of 12-0.

After a brief moment of play in Leeds’s half and an injured number 15 York player taken off the pitch, Leeds powered through the York defence yet again, putting great pressure on their play and forcing them to kick the ball off the field. Following a brief spell of York gaining possession of the ball after a line-out, play seemed to hit a stalemate with both teams’s attack seeming equal, with neither driving forwards more than the other. Leeds soon found a burst of energy, momentarily storming through the defense, which brought them nail-bitingly close to the try line. Unfortunately for the opposition, Leeds were able to find another try followed by a successful conversion in the 25th minute making the score 27-0. A comeback from York was looking less and less likely as the clock went on.

Photo: Zoë Thresher

Two collapsed scrums later followed by Leeds’s success in regaining the ball, York were pulling out all of the stops to keep Leeds at bay. Successful in this tactic, Leeds struggled to make it past the half-way line, compelling them to kick it off the field in favour of a line-out. Luckily for Leeds, York’s line-out was unsuccessful which led the way for Leeds centre Bo Jackson to dance and dodge her way through York’s attempted defence, and score the 5th try of the game. Another well-judged conversion later, and the half time score was 29-0 to Leeds, putting them in an extremely favourable position for the second half.

Despite injuries in the forward pack, York came back in the second half more resilient than ever. York took possession of the ball, as a result of a scrum, and ran it down most of Leeds’ half threatening their defence. Having taken until now for York to have truly settled into the game, Leeds were really having to work to deflect the ball from their half, causing them to kick it down the pitch, putting some distance between York and their try line. This payed off, as some fantastic handling of the ball was yet to come. The ball, passed smoothly down the line and finding its way into the hands of Leeds’s fly-half, paved the way for Leeds’ next try, despite York’s feisty come back in the second half. Leeds remained dominant in the 54th minute of play with 34 points.

Cracks were beginning to show in York’s line-outs as they gave the ball away to Leeds twice, allowing Leeds to advance through their defence. Leeds’ success continued unfalteringly as minutes later, three more tries were scored and another successful conversion from Morton brought the score to an uncompromising and final 51-0. Nicky Dobra, Captain, praised how “quickly the new players learnt what they needed to do and showed that they deserved to be in the squad’” and hopes that the team “can continue this form into the rest of the season”.

Zoë Thresher

Featured image: Zoë Thresher 


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