Once again it's a tale late in telling but things have been a tad hectic both during and after this latest end of season epic weekend. Car problems had caused a later than scheduled drive to West London for finals day at Twickenham but thankfully the problems ended there and all three sides which ickledot photographed had a successful outcome in their respective games.
At Twickenham, while ickledot intended to photograph only two of the four finals during the day, he couldn't resist an odd shot of the two other games, for slightly different reasons. The first featured Old Cranleighans against Buxton. By the time ickledot got to this one Old Cranleighans were well ahead and beginning to cut loose, scoring a couple of tries in as many minutes, one of which ended with the epic dive for the line above.
Tunbridge Wells were also successful in the Intermediate Final and celebrated with a communal run and dive towards their supporters who numbered several thousands.
As regular visitors to this blog might remember, West Leeds contested the Senior Vase final last year and sadly lost. This year they were back again, a year wiser and determined to win. They did so quite convincingly, opponents Withycombe matched scores in the first half and threatened at points in the second before West Leeds' dominance reasserted itself.
It was great to see some familiar faces, this time smiling as opposed to the grimaces and tears of only a year before. You can see a detailed report of the game on the West Leeds website and more pictures of the game and celebrations here. If you'd like to download an image of West Leeds at Twickenham, you can do so from ickledot's shop.
Last on the programme was the Under 20s County Championship Final with Yorkshire returning for a hat trick of consecutive Final appearances and hoping for second successive win. Their opponents were as two years previously: Northumberland. The two sides had met earlier in the season in Morpeth with Yorkshire coming out on top. However, as they will have no doubt been reminded, this also happened two seasons ago with Northumberland having the last laugh and a Final victory.
Yorkshire set out with a steely determination that there was to be no repeat of such a slip up. Their speed on the break and ferocious tackling let Northumberland know from the off they were in for a hard afternoon. Yorkshire were 26-10 up at the break and continued to score steadily through the second half, amassing 53 points to 20 by the close. A wonderful result celebrated by all concerned. More pics here.
A late drive home followed to be ready for what was being billed as the biggest game in Doncaster Knights' history. And so it proved to be. As you'll recall, the first play-off semi final had left the Knights 13 points ahead of Yorkshire Carnegie. Almost 5000 fans turned up for this second encounter, another feisty affair in which the Knights were forced onto the back foot defending resolutely for long periods of the game. Slowly Carnegie edged ahead but perhaps the pivotal point was a second half break, run and score from Knights' centre Will Hurrell (more recently named as the club's player of the season). It provided an essential break in pressure from Carnegie.
Knights finished on the losing side in this particular game, but only by three points, giving them an overall aggregate win. So they're into the final against the mighty Bristol. It's over two legs again, home and away. They really will be the biggest games in the club's history! You can see more pictures from the game here.