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Young Rhinos Stage Great Fightback
Posted by southstander on May 31 2005 - 06:47:47

Michael Brown
By John D

It was a sun drenched and windswept Brantingham Park that played host to this clash between Hull and Leeds under 18s. The wind would be a major factor in the match as it swirled around on the banks of the Humber.

Leeds included four debutants in the seventeen as the Headingley production line continues.

We bring you all the action.

20

Rhinos

v

Hull FC

18

Under 18 Academy

28th May 2005

Young Rhinos Stage Great Fightback

It didn't start well for Leeds as Matt Whittaker collected the kick off with one foot on the dead ball line, so Leeds were forced to drop out. Stiff defence won out though as Hull were kept at bay. Continued Hull pressure caused Leeds to concede another drop out as Hull hooker Joe McLocklan dabbed through and Danny Allan mopped up at the back. All the field position came to nought though as Danny Richardson knocked on.

The error was compounded as Hull conceded back-to-back penalties - for offside and a high shot - that gifted Leeds field position and they needed no second invite as Michael Haley stormed through a big gap to crash over by the sticks. Kyle Briggs tagged on the conversion and Leeds were 6-0 to the good after 10 minutes.

It turned into a bit of an arm wrestle as the blustery conditions became more difficult to deal with and it was a further 10 minutes before more points were registered and it was the home side who came up with it. A long ball wide found Jason Sloan who stepped off the left, put on a big fend and stretched out for a good try. McLocklan saw his effort on goal blown miles wide by a sudden gust of wind, but Hull were back in it at 6-4.

Leeds stormed back immediately, Liam Halliday and Ben Kaye working it for Halliday to go very close, but the pressure couldn't be converted into points. Neither could Leeds add to the score just before the break as Whittaker made a huge bust up the middle, Mike Ratu being held out by some strong Hull line defence. So we went to oranges with Leeds just ahead.

Hull came out in mean mood for the second stanza and just two minutes in McLocklan spread it wide to Shaun Wiseman who stepped Ratu and burst over in the corner. McLocklan again fired wide, but Hull led 8-6. Leeds got back into it, and towering bomb from Luke Gale forced Ashley Thackeray into some work. He collected superbly, but a good chase from Leeds forced him back in goal and Hull dropped out. On 53 minutes, Hull stretched their advantage. A cut out ball from Ross Divorty - son of the former Leeds and Hull man Gary - found Wiseman out wide and despite the attentions of three defenders he grounded out wide. Again McLocklan missed - probably cursing his team mates for all scoring in the corner - and Hull deservedly went 12-6 ahead.

Hull continued to pour forward, Rob Blakeborough being held up over the line after a Steve Brooke knock on gave possession away, before Leeds looked to get back into it. A big break from Ratu drew a penalty, but he wasted the chance with a knock on after Mark Watts had gone close. With Leeds camped on the Hull line, the hosts needed something special and it arrived in the shape of Gary North who picked off a Ben Kaye ball and scorched 90 metres to score under the sticks. McLocklan's relief was self evident as he tagged on the two and Hull looked comfortable at 18-6.

With just 10 minutes remaining, Leeds got what looked like a consolation as Mike Ratu - who had an afternoon of mixed fortunes - capitalised on an opportunity provided by the towering Michael Haley who charged down a kick and a good ball from Gale. Tom Sheldrake had the conversion attempt, but it was blown well wide. Four minutes later, Gale stood a huge bomb in the air and it swirled around all over the place and Thackeray came up with the error. Two tackles later, Haley barged over from close in and with Gale's goal, Leeds were right back at 18-16. With four minutes remaining, Gale repeated the dose with another big kick and Thackeray knocked on again in goal under immense pressure. Hull dropped out and on the last tackle of the next set Gale spread it to James Archibald who tipped it back inside for Ratu to squirm over and give Leeds the lead back. Dean Townend had a pop at goal, but it went well wide. Try as Hull might, they just couldn't get near the Leeds line as the clock ticked down and Leeds had turned round a 12 point deficit to snatch what seemed an unlikley victory.

It was a superb advert for Junior Academy rugby with some stand out performances. McLocklan and Divorty showed up well for Hull and there were big games from Mike Brown, Matt Whittaker and Ben Kaye for Leeds. But the star on the day was big Michael Haley. He's benefitted from time in the U21s side and he tackled anything that moved and chimed into the line well in a good all round display of old-fashioned prop forwardry. It was noticeable that Leeds' poor patch coincided with him not being on the field.

Match Facts

Rhinos
Hull FC
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Sheldrake
1
Thackeray
2
Allan
2
North
1
3
Ratu
2
3
Sloan
1
4
Burton
4
Wiseman
2
5
Whittaker
5
Steen
6
Briggs
1
6
Blakeborough
7
Gale
1
7
Houghton
8
Haley
2
8
Bibb
9
Watts
9
McLocklan
1
10
Brooke
10
Bower
11
Faal
11
Richardson
12
Townend
12
Esders
13
Brown
13
Divorty
14
Kaye
14
Priestley
15
Archibald
15
Bell
16
Gunney
16
Peacock
17
Halliday
17
Lynch

Kick Off:
14:30
Half-Time:
08-06
Referee:
Rob Hicks (Selby)


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