As regular readers will know, I've recently been taking photos of West Park Leeds rugby team. Over the three games I've witnessed (and one I missed) they've had an extremely successful run; consecutive victories and a large number of points. Nothing to do with me of course, but it's all proved photographically fortunate as much of the action has been has been close by and quite dramatic. Yesterday's encounter with former league leaders, Barnsley, on their home territory, had potential for change in a number of ways. Set to be a close and gruelling encounter, it could bring Leeds' run of wins to an end. It could also be ickledot's first game where the action was not all about Leeds being on the offensive. And so it proved to be in all but one important aspect.
The game itself couldn't have been closer. First blood to Barnsley with an unconverted try, the pattern for the rest of the match was set with both defences defending doggedly and both kickers having opportunities to put their sides ahead. This was especially so in the second half when Leeds' Simon Towler reestablished the visitors' lead, but by a single point, with only seconds on the clock. With the last play of the game a penalty was conceded. Unfortunately for Barnsley it was missed, giving Leeds victory by the narrowest of margins.
I've discussed before what the best policy is for taking pictures when the action drifts to the other end of the field for long periods of play. In the past I've usually tended to stay in one place, at each end, the one the side I'm concentrating on is attacking, reasoning that at larger venues there wouldn't be the option to move around. However, more recently I've modified things a little. As happened yesterday, with ten minutes of the half to go, I moved to the sidelines. This gives a completely altered view and opportunities for different and interesting shots. Play is moving across rather than towards the camera so one can look into scrums, get alongside tackles and also photograph players in defensive sections; ones who sometimes get missed altogether from the offensive end of the field. As mentioned earlier, kicks became an important aspect of the game yesterday so shooting from the sidelines enabled a different view of these too.
Currently my longest lens is 200mm, so a view from the side enables a longer 'reach' across the field. Of course, doing this risks missing a try but, you know, you can't be everywhere. With both teams having strong defences and choosing to kick when awarded penalties, I reasoned that a try was unlikely late in the half. As a low Autumn sun was shining across the field I opted to have it behind me.
Oddly enough, I made the same decision during the game last week. However, on that occasion it was when Leeds had already scored a number of tries and I'd wanted to bring different views of their dominance.
So, Leeds winning run continues and I was pleased to escape with some interesting shots in a game that had only one try. Please have a look for yourself. See what you think. And have a great week!