Eastmoor Dragons end wait for first league win with National Conference success against Leigh East

Eastmoor Dragons’ hard work to improve on their poor start to the season brought them a reward at last as they recorded their first victory of the season in Division Three of the National Conference League.

By Tony Harber
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:40 pm

Having only registered one league point with a draw away at Bentley in the 10 previous fixtures, the Dragons were too hot for Leigh East and with a bit more composure could have won by more than their final 26-12 score.

Even so it was the Lancastrians who were first on the scoreboard as early as the fifth minute as hooker Andrew Ball threw an outrageous dummy then scooted 20 yards to score a try which Ben Woods easily converted.

It was not long before the Dragons were off the mark themselves when their players’ player of the match Jack Raby hoodwinked the defence from close range to dart over for the first of his two tries.

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Eastmoor Dragons celebrated their first win of the season in Division Three of the National Conference League.

Jamie Deal duly added the conversion to make it all square at 6-6 and this is how the score remained until half-time with neither side gaining the upper hand.

Eastmoor were playing up the slope in the second half, but within four minutes of the restart Jordan Oxley – playing his best game of the season – was on hand to turn pressure into points to score to put the Dragons in front for the first time.

With Deal off the field Jordan Walker took over kicking duties to add the extras to make it 12-6 to the home side.

The Dragons were in the ascendency now with Leigh reeling and it was only a matter of time before Raby, proving too sharp for the opposition, raced in to score from 30 metres out, with Deal back on to add the conversion.

There was clear daylight between the teams, but Leigh were not finished and upped their game to reduce the deficit on 67 minutes when prop Connor Grady crashed over, with Ben Woods adding the extras.

The pressure was back on, but the Moor responded and for the first time this season they could sense a victory. They dug in resolutely and on 76 minutes from an initial break by Raby, hard working centre Jason Roberts continued the move before Callum Hudson accelerated away, leaving the Leigh defence clutching at straws to seal the win. With Deal adding the conversion it was 24-12.

Leigh’s frustration was clearly evident now and they gave away a penalty 40 metres out. With the game in the bag Deal put the icing on the cake as he took the chance to send the ball sailing between the posts to make the final score 26-12.

Eastmoor’s victory came on the back of a hard working pack with in-form Jordan Walker, Jacob Lord and Robert Hartley putting in big shifts as well as the National Conference man of the match Declan Nicholson leading the way.

The Dragons remain bottom of the table, but are only one point behind Hensingham and two behind Leigh East after boosting their chances of having to avoid seeking re-election.

They now have a week off before a tough one away at runaway leaders East Leeds on June 4 (kick-off 2.30pm).