Leyland could not have got off to a better start when the home side kicked off, deep to the Warriors’ right edge and the ball was collected by Lightowler. He came inside and having skipped around a couple of defenders, threw a dummy, shrugged off a tackle and went 80 metres to open the scoring, leaving a stunned defence behind him. 0-4.
Jake Harrison dealt superbly with the tricky restart and after Edge and Houghton got the team moving forwards, Croniken burst through the defensive line, being eventually dragged down about 10 metres out. A quick shift out to the left from Hicks, Morgan and Roberts saw Robinson score out on the left. 0-8.
A strong kick return from Whatton and another break from Lightowler took the Warriors back into good ball once more but with an overlap created and the try line begging, they put the ball down. This led to a huge shift in momentum as Leyland were then caught offside near the end of the set and a simple missed tackle saw Woolston’s number 8 break the line to score. 6-8.
Immediately from the restart, Leyland conceded back-to-back penalties and the hosts crossed again, out wide and despite having had muh the better of the opening exchanges, the Warriors suddenly found themselves behind. 10-8.
A break by Fell from deep inside his own half saw Leyland fight their way back into good ball and another rampaging run from Croniken took them close before another left to right shift saw Robinson cross out wide once more. 10-12.
Amer then managed to win the race to a crafty kick off from the home side before debutant Thomas smashed his way down the field and offloaded to Lightowler, who as tackled just short. The Warriors again went through several sets of hands before McDonald’s long pass found Robinson, who cut back against the grain to score near the posts for a first half hat-trick, with Whatton converting. 10-18 at the break.
Leyland opened the scoring in the second period, earning a scrum on halfway through some strong defence. Quick hands saw the ball reach Lightowler and he dummied, changed pace and fended his way through the line to race under the posts for another great solo try, with Whatton on target again. 10-24.
The Warriors extended their lead after Down bent the line from the kick off and then Croniiken battered his way upfield once more. The ball was shipped right and found Thomas on the charge for his first Warriors try. 10-28.
This time the Warriors spilled the ball on their own 10 metre line from the restart and immediately from the scrum a neat shift orchestrated by Woolston’s number 1 saw them score. 14-28.
A couple of minutes later Leland turned the ball over again, in almost the exact same place and the result was the same, a quick shift to the left resulting in a try. 20-28.
Conscious that the game was far closer than it should have been based on the amount of possession and good territory they had enjoyed, the Warriors refocussed and pushed on. A great tackle by Amer and Croniken forced an error early in the tackle count, earning the ball back and after a couple of solid drives it was Robinson who crashed onto the ball from close range to score. Whatton added the extras. 20-34.
The Warriors’ next try came on the back of more good approach work by the forwards, driving into the Woolston half before a perfectly timed pass from Bentham put Fell outside his marker and he raced down the left edge, rounding the fullback to score. 20-38.
The last try of the match was arguably the best, with three strong carries into the guts of the home defence, before the ball was neatly shipped out through a block play to Robinson, who was able to poke his nose through the defensive line, before offloading to Lightowler, who fended off the cover to score on the right. 20-42.
Safe to say that a couple of weeks off showed in what, at times, was a lacklustre defensive display, caught on it’s heels too often. However, the lads were putting things that they had practiced during the week’s training into a match, which is a huge positive. Well done boys!
Team: Leon Whatton, Conrad Amer, Jack Lightowler, Kyle Fell, Luke Weston, Nathan Roberts, Will Morgan, Tom Edge, Charlie, Hicks, Sam Houghton, Jake Harrison, Jack Robinson, Dan Croniken – Zak Bentham, Euan Thomas, Tom Down, Charlie McDonald