A blustery, cold, final day of February brought ickledot to his first double: the first game at which he'd witnessed the corresponding fixture earlier in the season. On that occasion West Park Leeds had emerged as victors, but only by the last kick of the game, a missed penalty by Barnsley. It's been a mixed tale for both teams since then; mostly victories but with the odd crucial defeat. However, this could still be counted as a top of the table encounter and the stakes were high. As such it was a somewhat dour encounter, matching the grey conditions, with both sides choosing to kick for goal when given the opportunity, rather than more expansive options. Barnsley held an early lead until West Park Fly Half Sam Clews burst through down the right to score wide.
It was 8-6 at half time and remained so for much of the second half. The home side had much of the early possession, encamped for a seemingly endless period on the Barnsley try line. However, the South Yorkshire defence held firm, withstanding an onslaught of fierce mauls and scrums.
As regular readers will know, ickledot is no rugby tactician, so is unable to relate exactly why it happened, but the feeling gradually arose that on this day West Park did not have the wherewithal needed to cross the line, and if Barnsley were able to break free, a steal was on. And so it proved. As the ball broke downfield one could almost feel the tension lifting off Barnsley shoulders. An initial foray led to a penalty. For a moment it seemed a victory would evade them again as the ball caught the wind and was flung away from goal. Moments later though, the boys in red were finally able to demonstrate their passing ability. A spare man on the left was found and the line crossed for a winning try. Desperately close again but Barnsley finally had deserved revenge for their loss earlier in the season. Well done them and apologies that these pics are more from a West Park point of view but, you know, one can only be at one end of the field. Hopefully there are enough in this selection to give a Barnsley perspective if not any scoring situations.
A pleasing addendum to ickledot's recent Doncaster trip: A burst of tweets last week led to Doncaster Knights' admin staff becoming aware of pics taken on the day. Not only did they request the use of a couple, including the one below; they also issued an invitation to a future Knights match to take more. Result! Have a great week.