THE University of Leeds Rugby League 1sts gave a confident performance in Wednesday’s match against Hull University, and despite appalling weather conditions, the team managed to gain a convincing and much-needed win.
The Gryphons started well, showing their intent going into this vital encounter. Leeds were able to quickly put their opponents under pressure, and after just two minutes, centre Dan Bent went over for the first try of the match, after being set up by full-back Ben Ebden – who gave an impressively physical performance, despite carrying a slight injury. Leeds were able to score a second try just three minutes later, with winger Sam Rossiter going over in the corner. The try showcased Leeds attacking structure, which was enforced all day by half-backs Josh Boardman and James Woodburn-Hall, both of whom were exemplary in their marshalling of the Gryphons’ attack.
Hull did get their due chance to put some points on the scoreboard in the 15th minute, but a criminally forward pass meant that Leeds could regain possession and put the pressure back on Hull. A third try in the corner then came from Joe Whittle, who shrugged off a defender to go over for a well-worked score.
In the first half, Leeds looked wholly dominant, and coped well with a clearly physical Hull defence. Leeds showed great floor work to slow the ball down, with players like Ben Wakefield, Patrick O’Brien and first-year Kyle Greenwood proving effective defensively. The only issue appeared to be a lack of discipline at the breakdown, but a second try from Rossiter followed by his hat-trick-cementing score at the death of the half quashed any real concern.
As the second half got underway it was a sad end for Rossiter, as a high tackle (resulting in a well-deserved, if a little lenient yellow card) ended the winger’s impressive game, having displayed great footwork and attacking flair. Once again, Leeds piled the pressure on their opponents, who were beginning to look fatigued. Hull were forced to throw themselves in front of hard, penetrative runs close to the breakdown from the likes of prop Jack Blaggs and Clement Muchiti.
A sniping break from hooker Ollie Vickers in the 55th minute seemed to be the culmination of the player’s impressive performance and when he went over for his try (making the score 32 – 0) it appeared as though the game was totally out of Hull’s hands. However, after this Leeds appeared to be caught napping, and a rare lull in their defensive intensity allowed Hull to go over for a consolation try
In the end, L.U.R.L were able to hold out for the duration, and despite a questionable yellow card for Muchiti, Hull could not find their way to the Leeds try-line any more times. The final score was a well-earned 32-4 and was definitely a win that the team needed. The side showcased their strong set-completion record, and clearly have a well-rehearsed and highly-effective attacking structure. The 2s also earned their first win of the season away against York and as a result, things look bright for the University side. The 1s travel to Newcastle next week and, based on this scintillating performance, will surely go in as favourites.
Featured image: James Candler