Pontefract RUFC bounce back to sweep West Leeds aside

Pontefract put the disappointment of their shock defeat to strugglers Bradford Salem quickly behind them as they took out their frustration on West Leeds in Yorkshire One.

By Tony Harber
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 5:00 pm
Pontefract number eight Callum Rogers, who scored his side’s second try in their win over West Leeds. Picture: Jonathan Buck
Pontefract number eight Callum Rogers, who scored his side’s second try in their win over West Leeds. Picture: Jonathan Buck

There was no sign of any after effects of the 24-22 loss to Salem from the previous week as Pontefract put on a brutal display to sweep aside opponents threatening to catch them in the league, winning 33-12.

The result kept Ponte firmly in third place and still in touch with leaders Old Crossleyans who are just seven points ahead of them at the half way point of the season.

The first half against West Leeds was initially frustrating for Ponte as promising positions were lost with poor decision making and errors at the breakdown and line-out.

From one such error Leeds were the first to score as their speedy full-back scored an unconverted try.

It was important Ponte replied quickly and they did. A searing break from centre Andy Coleman, who was a handful all afternoon, gave them position near the line and big Josh Hough did his thing with a trademark pick and drive to score the hosts’ first try.

This was soon followed by a replica try from ever consistent number eight Callum Rogers, which Liam Kay converted to make the score 12-5.

Ponte could not quite go through the phases without errors and West Leeds brought the game level at half time as poor defence in midfield allowed a converted try.

The second half belonged to Pontefract, however, with Leeds never looking like scoring.

They were made to work hard to break down a stubborn defence, but the breakthroughs did eventually come as Kay showed a bit of individual class to register two carbon copy drop-goals direct from drop-outs under the posts.

He backed this up with a penalty as the referee marched Leeds back three times for dissent from the same penalty to bring it into kicking range.

These points took Ponte to two scores ahead and from then on it was a matter of chasing tries for an extra bonus point.

This was helped by the visitors going down to 14 men with a straight red card for a later than late tackle on Kay.

The next try soon followed as a 40-metre break from young prop Ethan Potts led to a dominant scrum from which prolific winger Lucas Ketteridge was put in at the corner.

The bonus point try followed with the constant scrum pressure leaving Leeds looking broken. From another big scrummage winger Ciaran Tucker, who had backed up well from his opposite wing, scored from an excellent offload from fellow winger Betteridge.

It was a fantastic result for Pontefract and consolidates their position in the top three with half the season completed.

Man of the match for Ponte was the returning Brodie Matthews, but he was just one of many from the whole pack in which Leo Harrison and Niall Sandwith also stood out. In the backs,

Kay was at the centre of everything with his job made easier by the excellent service from lively scrum-half Josh Walker.

Pontefract now face another potential banana skin game as this Saturday they travel to play bottom of the table Goole, who have only won two of their 12 league matches so far.

Another Salem style slip-up will not be accepted as they look to make their level of performance from the West Leeds game their norm from now on to fulfil their promotion potential.

Castleford maintained their promotion bid in Yorkshire Three with a comprehensive 44-10 win at home to West Park Leeds. The bonus point victory saw the hosts 24-3 ahead at half-time and eventually run in seven tries as they stayed in fourth place, just a point behind Knottingley who had their scheduled match at Bramley Phoenix postponed.

This Saturday sees Castleford at home to Sheffield Medicals, while Knottingley host unbeaten leaders Barnsley and Hemsworth go to Ossett.