Melton RFC thrilling fightback falls short as West Leeds earn Twickenham final

Melton RFC player-coach Gareth Collins scored a classy try shortly after his introduction against West Leeds EMN-150404-174034002
Melton RFC player-coach Gareth Collins scored a classy try shortly after his introduction against West Leeds EMN-150404-174034002
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Melton RFC’s dream of a Twickenham final was dashed as an impressive West Leeds outfit deservedly won the RFU Senior Vase semi-final 33-22.

The Yorkshire side, buoyed by a noisy travelling support, started confidently and were 12-0 up after 15 minutes thanks to two tries from their pacy wing.

Phil Stimson got Melton on the board with a penalty, but West Leeds added another converted try with a slick move to go 20-3 ahead after half-an-hour.

Melton’s forwards had been put under unaccustomed pressure by their opponents, but finally got some momentum late in the first half.

And having kicked a penalty to the corner, the hosts went over for their first try after concerted pressure on the Leeds line. The conversion was missed, but at 20-8 at half-time, Melton had a lifeline.

With a lead to protect, Leeds kicked smartly for territory after the break. Frustration in the Melton ranks led to two yellow cards early in the second half, and for five minutes the home side were down to 13.

The second card also brought a Leeds penalty which was converted to extend the lead to more than two scores at 23-8.

And on the hour mark, the game was all but up when a kick over the Melton defence and a lightning quick chase gave West Leeds another converted try and a commanding 30-8 lead.

Player-coach Gareth Collins, brought himself on and with 10 minutes to go, showed a touch of class to finally break the visitors line and cross for a try, Stimson adding the simple conversion, 30-15.

Five minutes later, and after a tiring West Leeds were reduced to 14 men, the fightback was on as Carl Prior crossed in the left corner after another stirring move.

Stimson added a brilliant conversion from the touchline to make it 30-22 and give the home fans hope.

Melton kept on coming and put the visitors under enormous pressure, but a superb drop goal just inside Melton’s half completed the scoring and capped a classy display from Twickenham-bound West Leeds.