Leeds Met fight back to take the points in men’s rugby


Images: Philippa Grafton

A superb comeback from Leeds Metropolitan seconds earned them the points on 22 Acres today and ended York’s unbeaten start to the season. A great start had seen the White Rose go 17-0 up but the visitors stormed back into the match and a late penalty from fly-half Ross McIntosh sealed a 20-17 victory.

York were first to strike with stand-in scrum half Will Peters going over the try line. Peters, deputising for the injured Will Ward, went over from close range to make it 5-0. Fly Half Tomasz Chadwick added the extras to put the hosts 7-0 up.

It was soon 12-0 and and it was captain James Faktor with the points. An up-and-under bounced favourably for York and second-row Sam Lord did extremely well to pick up, his pass was measured to perfection, finding Faktor who did the rest.

York were playing some superb rugby and coach Kerry Wood was impressed with what he was seeing. Every aspect of their play was impressive and the visitors appeared rattled. One area of particular domination was the pack and the big men did their stuff to earn York another score, a catch and drive lineout seeing Campbell Paton rumble over the whitewash.

At 17-0 York were well in control but just before half-time the away side began to get back into the contest. A spell of exerted pressure meant Faktor’s side were on the back-foot and scrum-half Ollie Simcox went over to make it 17-7 at the break and slightly change both side’s team talks.

The second half started as the first finished with Leeds Met on top. York’s superb start had hit the buffers and it was the visitors who were growing in confidence. 17-7 became 17-12 as Matt Marskell demonstrated some strong running to go over in the corner and not long after things were all square.

This time it was Matt Keen who went over and on this occasion York were the authors of their own demise. A kick over the top fell to winger Ben Turner but his pass inside was intercepted by Keen and he just had enough pace to touch down. The subsequent conversion was missed leaving the game brilliantly poised at 17-17.

York went on the offensive looking for the win but Leeds Met threatened as well. It was the away side who edged in front, McIntosh knocking over to make it 20-17. The last ten minutes were all about York trying to get ahead but, barring a penalty that was kicked to the corner, there were few clear-cut opportunities to make the match theirs.

The game ended with Leeds Met still ahead and with it went York’s 100% record this season. The home side had started so well but they couldn’t maintain their dominance and Leeds Met displayed why they are one of the best sporting universities in the country.

Captain James Faktor was unsurprisingly disappointed to lose but couldn’t blame his players for their effort: “We came in at half-time and Woody (Coach Kerry Wood) and I were saying we had been pretty much faultless. After that we couldn’t pick anything else up, it was perhaps a touch of complacency on our part. We took our foot off the gas but they were quality outside as well, we tend to deal very well with big sides who hit us hard up-front but they were impressive in the backs.”

With hindsight the late penalty could have been used as an avenue to kick at goal, level the scores and go again but Faktor explained the thinking behind kicking for touch: “Two of our tries had come from drives, we were confident we could do it again but they stood firm. The kick was no gimme either, and the last one hadn’t gone so well. I spoke to Tomasz and he said ‘let’s go for the corner’. It was always going to be a risky call.

“Credit to them though, their defence really held up. We’ll get back on the training pitch, keep working and hopefully we’ll come back stronger.”

George Wissen, Gregor Morris, Fraser Kirkly, Jordan Huey-Abbott, Sam Lord, Adam Gaskill, Sam Morrison, James Faktor, Will Peters, Tomasz Chadwick, Gabriel Adebiyi, Matt Pollen, Will Sharp, Ben Turner, Richard Bremner.

Subs: Greg Walsh, Campbell Paton, James Arnold, Tim Ross, Hugo Watson, Matt Durrah.

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