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First Half Wins it for Youngsters
Posted by southstander on July 07 2005 - 06:48:50

MoM
By Matthew Horton

Something had to give tonight at the Rhinos Under-21’s met their counterparts from Widnes in a top of the table clash. Both sides had only lost once all season, both away at Salford, and this encounter could well be the deciding factor in the destination of the league leadership at the end of the season.

It was a filthy night at Scatchered Lane as both team had to deal with the wet conditions.

We bring you all the action.

42

Rhinos

v

Vikings

22

Senior Academy

League Phase

6th July 2005

First Half Wins it for Youngsters

It was the visitors, playing into the wind, who got the scoreboard ticking after only two minutes. Phil Wood making a big bust through some poor Rhinos defence, he found Mick Stout who was hauled to ground by Jordan Tansey. A quick play the ball allowed Wood to find Rowland with the Rhinos defence all at sea, he offloaded to Paul Alcock who went in at the corner. Crook could not convert but it put Widnes into an early 4-0 lead.

The Rhinos hit back on 7 minutes, after getting a penalty they started only 10 metres from the Widnes line and caught the short side defence asleep as Iain Gordon found Chris Buttery and his pass was perfect for Danny Williams to get in at the corner. Gibson’s conversion was superb to nudge the Rhinos ahead.

It was a real bruising encounter with some big hits coming in from both sides. On 15 minutes Jason Golden hit on Rowlands forced a goal line drop out. From that referee Grundy awarded the Rhinos a penalty for being in front of the kicker and Leeds ran the ball. On the first play a good offload from Luke Burgess found Jamie I’Anson and his pass to Ablett was superb and the loose forward dived in under the posts. Gibson had the easy task of tagging on the extras.

Despite the average age of the side being just over 18 Leeds continued to take the game to their more experienced opponents and struck again on 25 minutes. A well timed pass from Murrell released Ablett and he set off downfield, he had options both sides but his inside ball was knocked down and backward towards his own try line by Alcock. It was then a foot race, which Ablett won to regather and touch down. Gibson converted to stretch the lead to 14 points.

The discipline of Widnes was very poor in the first half, they conceded nine in total in the first half for various offences and they were made to pay. On 35 minutes, after another penalty gifted field position, Leeds were in again. I’Anson finding Murrell and his cut out ball found Jordan Tansey and he gave Matt Gardner a walk in at the corner. Gibson could not convert but Leeds suffered a huge blow as Luke Burgess was carried from the field with a knee injury.

The crucial blow came two minutes before half time; an offload from Luke Stenchion found Jamie I’Anson. He moved the ball to Scott Murrell who went across field. He found Ashley Gibson, who had timed his run to perfection, and he somehow he managed to get the ball down under intense pressure. He couldn’t convert but the Rhinos went into the break 26-4 to the good.

Stuart Wilkinson must have been pleased with his team’s first half efforts, as much as Stuart Spruce would have been frustrated by his side. Spruce’s words had a more immediate effect as Widnes struck first early in the second half. A knock on from Ablett gave Widnes good field position and they struck three tackles later when Phil Wood was allowed to run across field before his short pass allowed Adam Bibey to crash over under the posts. Paul Crook converted to bring the score to 26-10 in Leeds favour.

The game then became a real arm wrestle as the teams tested each other out; defences began to get on top as the weather got worse with the rain falling heavier. The only action of this period was a break from Scott Murrell, which was called back by referee Grundy because of interference against a Widnes defender. Leeds also lost Matt Gardner for the rest of the game after a heavy, but legal tackle, left the winger flat out.

Leeds made the breakthrough on 63 minutes; Jason Golden was halted just short of the Widnes try line after a storming run. From there, the ball was spun left by Murrell to Luke Gale, and a delightful pass found the run of Gibson who showed great strength and determination to get the ball over the whitewash. The conversion hit the post but the lead was 20 points.

Then 3 minutes later the Rhinos were in again, Murrell releasing Chris Buttery up the right hand touchline, he had Jordan Tansey on his inside but the momentum was lost for a moment. Carl Ablett though came steaming though to take the pass from Tansey and despite the efforts of Misili Manu the loose forward went over for this hat trick try. Gibson converted to put the Rhinos 36-10 ahead.

Widnes, defending a 10 match unbeaten run, never gave up and struck twice themselves in quick succession. First on 70 minutes, after a penalty and on the third tackle of the set Adam Bowman forced his way over from dummy half and then 4 minutes later the Rhinos defence couldn’t reorganise after a break from Mick Bowles. The ball was spread left by Stephen Myler who released Rob Lamb, he didn’t have the pace to make the line but had Misili Manu on his outside to go in at the corner. Paul Crook converted both to bring the score back to 36-22 and a few nerves began to rattle in the Rhinos camp.

Widnes were desperate to try and get something from this game, but in the conditions it led to errors as passes were forced and Leeds took advantage to make the game safe as Ablett found Murrell and his inside pass enabled Jordan Tansey to get over the line. Gibson converted and although Widnes had a late try disallowed for a forward pass it gave the Rhinos a crucial 42-22 victory.

Widnes were an experienced side but at times were out enthused by the young Rhinos side. Phil Wood was dangerous as ever, but experienced Super League played Stephen Myler offered little on the night. Steve Nash had little impact on his return from injury but Paul Alcock posed a threat to the Rhinos.

For the Rhinos, I take my hat off to all 17 players on the paddock tonight. Matt Gardner being the oldest player in the 17 which had an average age of just over 18. Skipper Jason Golden again led the side from the front, Scott Murrell continued his good run of form and Carl Ablett, with his hat trick, was busy at all times. Ashley Gibson again showed tonight why he is going to be a player for the future at Leeds Rhinos with another powerful display. Dave Tootill never took a backward step and Michael Haley, although with limited game time, again showed he can handle himself at this level. The SouthStander.com man of the match went to Jamie I’Anson. There may have been a couple of handling errors from the young hooker but he drove the Rhinos forward all night, made two big breaks up field and was a rock on defence.

The team take a break next week as they have the bye but will be back in action in a fortnight when Castleford Tigers are the visitors to Scatchered Lane.

Match Facts

Rhinos
Vikings
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Tansey
1
1
Rowlands
2
Williams
1
2
Bowles
3
Buttery
3
Woods
4
Gibson
2
5
4
Gill
5
Gardner
1
5
Manu
1
6
Murrell
6
Myler
7
Gordon
7
Crook
3
8
Burgess
8
Nash
9
I'Anson
9
Wood
10
Stenchion
10
Bibey
1
11
Hart
11
Alcock
1
12
Golden
12
Stout
13
Ablett
3
13
Martin
14
Gale
14
Bowman
1
15
Haley
15
Boland
16
Brook
16
Inman
17
Tootill
17
Lamb

Kick Off:
19:30
Half-Time:
26-04
Penalties:
9-6
Sin Binnings:
None
Referee:
Andrew Grundy (Dewsbury)


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