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Singing in the Rain
Posted by southstander on April 07 2005 - 15:45:28

Points Fest
By Matthew Horton

The Rhinos Under-21’s began their campaign in the Senior Academy First Division at Cougar Park, Keighley last night. Francis Cummins took his first steps on the road to recovery, Gareth Morton played his first game in Rhinos colours since 2002 and Lewis Taylor, a regular at Leeds last season, surprisingly lined up in the Keighley side.

We bring you all the action.

44

Rhinos

v

Cougars

05

Senior Academy

6th April 2005

Singing in the Rain

In what could only be described as atrocious conditions the Rhinos kicked off the 2005 League campaign playing up the slope and into the breeze. It was a poor start from the visitors as basic errors, assisted by the poor conditions, enabled to Cougars to get settled in the Rhinos half. It was though the Rhinos who struck first, taking advantage of a mistake by Rob Weir. From the scrum, Gareth Morton broke the Cougars line and popped a super ball to Jordan Tansey who pinned his ears back to go 60 metres to score. Ashley Gibson converting to give the Rhinos a 6-point advantage.

The Rhinos then struck twice in quick succession, first on 19 minutes a short side move from Ablett and Gibson saw the centre’s pass nearly intercepted but it landed in the hands of Matt Gardner and he went in at the corner. Then 5 minutes later Lee Smith wrapped around the Rhinos attacking line and took a pass from Murrell. He was ankle tapped by some desperate Cougars defence, but was able to regain his feet and squeeze in at the corner. Gibson was unsuccessful with both kicks but the Rhinos were 14 points to the good.

Keighley though were showing some good touches and they finally got their reward on 27 minutes. After a mistake from Jamie I’Anson deep in his own half gave the Cougars field position to work with and they took advantage on the 4th tackle when Daley Williams pounced on a neat kick from Liam Duffy over the try line. Duffy was off target with the conversion, but the Cougars had some reward for their first half endeavour.

The Rhinos though looked to turn the screw, first on 31 minutes good work by Ablett created space for Murrell but Jordan Tansey could not hold the final ball before another break by Morton and Tansey three minutes later ended with the ball going to ground. The Rhinos though struck right on half time, after a scrum on their own 10 metre line, the ball found Ashley Gibson and he fooled the Cougars defence with an outrageous dummy and he went in from 80 metres under the posts. He added the conversion and the Rhinos went into half time 20-4 to the good.

During half time there was an absolute deluge of rain, which turned the already heavy pitch into a quagmire but with the elements and slope in their advantage it would have been only the most optimistic Cougar fan that expected a comeback. And those thoughts evaporated after 4 minutes of the half when first Jordan Tansey should have sent Gallagher in but he held on to the football. The chance was not lost, from the play the ball was moved wide and Murrell but Gibson through a huge gap for the centre to stroll over for his second try, which he again converted to take the score to 26-4.

Conditions now were deteriorating, not just for the players, as the Keighley trainer fell flat on his backside, much to the amusement of the spectators. Keighley were struggling to clear their lines under some heavy defence from the Rhinos and they were also unable to gain good distance on their field kicking due to the elements. Leeds took advantage on 54 minutes after being camped on the Cougars line, when from a play the ball a huge gap opened up for Jamie I’Anson to go in under the posts. Ashley Gibson converted and it was 32-4.

Then, one of the strangest things I have seen on a Rugby League field in a long time. After Carl Ablett has conceded a penalty on his own 20 while in possession of the ball, it gave the Cougars the rare opportunity to attack the Rhinos line. On the last tackle of the set, the Cougars tried to run the power play. Somehow the ball went to ground and ended up in the hands of Lewis Taylor, who 25 metres from goal and about 20 metres in from touch booted over a perfect field goal. It was Deacon-esque to say the very least but it narrowed the gap to 27 points.

Leeds though has the final day with two tries in as many minutes; first Ashley Gibson completed his hat trick with a carbon copy of his first try, except finishing from a shorter distance. Then from the kick off Lee Smith moved the ball to the blind side and found Matt Gardner at pace, he broke the line and when faced with the full back drew him perfectly to find the supporting Francis Cummins who went in for a comeback try. Gibson converted both leave the Rhinos 44-5 winners on the night.

Fair play to the home side tonight, every willing to try things in the difficult condition they were no match for a Rhinos side who were looking to bounce back from the difficulty that was the grading phase. Coach Stuart Wilkinson said afterwards, 'It was a good performance in difficult conditions, I’m happy with the win and our defensive effort'. For the Rhinos, Gareth Morton looked good in his first game of League for sometime, Dave Tootill ran powerfully when introduced from interchange and John Gallagher gave the team lots of direction after coming on in the hooking role. Francis Cummins, although not having a lot to do on the night, was a calming influence on the team.

SouthStander.com Man of the Match

It wasn’t a difficult choice this week, a unanimous vote from the jury for Ashley Gibson. A hat trick of tries and six from eight with the boot. A personal tally of 24 points on the night. Basically just the way that he managed to break the Keighley line with ease for two of his tries.

The next Senior Academy game is next Thursday night (14th) when Dewsbury Rams are the visitors to Headingley with an 8pm kick off.

Match Facts

Rhinos
Cougars
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Smith
1
1
Beevers
2
Cummins
1
2
Pickles
3
Gibson
3
6
3
Smith
4
Morton
4
Williams D.
1
5
Gardner
1
5
Jackson
6
Murrell
6
Duffy
7
Tansey
1
7
Weir
8
Stenchion
8
Taylor
1
9
I'Anson J.
1
9
Feather J.
10
Burgess
10
Williams T.
11
Golden
11
Hastings
12
Buttery
12
Noble
13
Ablett
13
Flynn
14
Gallagher
14
Feather A.
15
Williams
15
Palmer
16
Tootill
16
Webster
17
Hart
17
Ferrazzano

Kick Off:
19:30
Half-Time:
20-04
Penalties:
8-5
Referee:
Matthew Kidd (Castleford)


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