Leeds Leave It Late To Break Birmingham Hearts
A last minute try gave Leeds firsts a 31 – 30 victory over Birmingham firsts in a thrilling match on the Bournbrook pitches yesterday evening.
The match kicked off at 5pm on the Bournbrook pitches in front of a healthy crowd eager for Birmingham react to last week’s away defeat at Nottingham, and they were encouraged by a strong start from the Lions, as they exerted some early pressure on the Leeds defence.
This led to the first points of the game, a penalty from fly-half Cholerton, but it could have better had fullback Simpson not spilt the ball when it appeared he was under the posts. Moments later, Leeds punished Birmingham’s profligacy, scoring the first try of the match after some slick passing.
Birmingham did however have the half-time lead, courtesy of a converted try on 35 minutes. 10 – 7 it stood at the break.
Leeds began the second half brightly, and took the lead with a converted try, however then followed Birmingham’s brightest period of the match. Thirteen unanswered points later, courtesy of two trys, unconverted, from Smith and Sherwood, and a penalty from Cholerton, and Birmingham led 23 – 14.
Leeds were not finished though, and a converted try narrowed the gap to just two points. Then with 10 minutes to go Birmingham won their lineout 5 metres from the Leeds line, and a rolling maul edged the Lions forward. It would have gone right the way over, had it not been illegally collapsed, and the referee awarded the penalty try.
With the score 30 – 21 with under 10 minutes to go you would be forgiven for thinking the Lions had the game in the bag, but Leeds had other ideas. A quick penalty from the visitors got the crowd nervous, and then in the final play of the game, the Leeds winger skipped through some tired tackling to score. The conversion soared through the posts to win the game. Birmingham 30 – 31 Leeds.
The away team must be given credit for their persistence, and indeed fitness levels, but Birmingham will be bitterly disappointed, and rightly so; they were in charge of the match but failed to close it out, perhaps lacking that bit of composure in the final minutes.
Two defeats from their opening two matches doesn’t make great reading for the Lions, but some comfort can be taken from this performance which didn’t deserve the result it got. The firsts will have to pick themselves back up for a tough match away to Loughborough seconds next week.