Man Met Uni fall just short in thrilling 19-19 draw with Leeds Beckett
- Much needed bonus point goes missing for Man Met's Rugby Union
- Dropped lineout at the death costs Man Met dearly
- Strong second half from Leeds Beckett to draw the game
Manchester Metropolitan University Rugby Union came up just short in a bruising 19-19 draw with Leeds Beckett 2nds. Needing a bonus point to stay in the fight for promotion, Man Met fell one try short.
A brutal game, with hard hits, a dislocated shoulder and a yellow card, lit up the grey and gloomy sky at Platt Lane. Squandered chances in the opposition 22 ultimately led to Man Met's downfall, as they conceded unneccessary penalties and wasted valuable possession as the clock ticked by.
An early missed penalty by the visitors let Man Met off the hook early on, but they let a leaky try through in the fifth minute. A good line break from Steene allowed him to off-load to Tom Dufficy who finished in the corner.
Leeds Beckett missed the conversion, giving Man Met a good chance to reply quickly and they regained the lead only 10 minutes later as forward James barrelled his way over the line. From here on Man Met looked the stronger team throughout the first half, with two tries and the lion's share of possession going their way, leaving Leeds Beckett with only five points.
The second and thirdpoints came in the same fashion as the first did for Man Met, a hard slog up the field and sustained pressure on the try line meant Ed Poulson and Jones could fight their way over the line.
Referee James Brown blew the whistle for half time, calling an end to a half which had seen some massive tackles. Leeds’s inside centre and first choice kicker, Steene was left with a suspected dislocated shoulder and unable to continue the game.
Only five minutes into the second half, Leeds finally added to their tally, as fullback Fin Dewar crossed the MMU try line, converting his own try and the pressure began to mount on the home side. Despite a yellow card for Leeds' flanker Brown, Man Met failed to add to their lead in the second half as Leeds took a page from MMU’s playbook and played hard running rugby, keeping it tight and utilizing their dominant pack well. Leeds then scored again through captain Hayden Thompson-Green
Penalties traded hands but Man Met couldn’t find a way to convert and squandered vital chances, conceding penalties and having to regain territory. The Man Met defence fared well for most of the second half, but a drive upfield in the last 10 minutes by Leeds and constant pressure on the Man Met try line meant that the defence finally gave way.
Man Met were given a lifeline late in the game, as a penalty meant they could advance into the Leeds 22 in the dying minutes. Another silly penalty by Leeds for a foul in the ruck left Man Met with a choice, kick for goal and win, or try and get the vital bonus point that was desperately needed, the latter was chosen.
Five metres from the try line, with no time left, the ball was thrown in by Man Met, but was painstakingly knocked on at the back of the lineout with hopes of promotion dashed with the sound of the final whistle.
Man Met fly half Ben Pearson said after the game: “After a strong first half I think Leeds just grew into the game a bit more and with the few tired bodies I think they used their experience of being in the higher division. It was an unreal shift by the boys, we can’t really complain. We played near the top of our game and did well to keep it down to three tries. We could have won the game but the fact we were going for more tries meant we had to kick to the corner. Proud of the boys and we’ll move onto the last two games of the season.”
On his side's second half comeback, Leeds Beckett Head Coach Kris Stafford said: "I can't fault the lads. They played with a lot of heart and courage and a draw was probably a fair result."
| Tries: James, Poulson, Jones R | Cons: Rice x2 |
| Tries: Dufficy, Dewar, Thompson-Green | Cons: Dewar x2 | Yellow Card: Brown
Referee: James Brown