No fewer than three matches have been attended since my last post, each of them a cracker in its own way. Some joy, some deep disappointment and also time to reflect as we're nearing the end of another season.
First up on Saturday was West Leeds. It's become something of a custom for ickledot to photograph them in a final at Twickenham - it's happened for the last three years - on the same day as Yorkshire Under 20 finals. They'll not be at Twickenham this time around but they've still had a most successful season, finishing third in a league which they've only just been promoted into. That's some going as the usual way is for newly promoted teams to struggle initially.
Opponents on this warm and sunny afternoon were Bridlington. They too have enjoyed a positive season and were hoping to make it a four out of four record against the Leeds side in recent encounters.
The visitors certainly looked strong in the opening minutes and West Leeds were very much on the back foot. However, when the opportunity of a quick breakaway came along they capitalised through the swift running of Mark Calderwood. He touched down right in front of me but unfortunately there's not much room beyond the try area at the lower end of the pitch and my lens was just too long to get a clean shot. You'll see what I mean when you have a look at the other pictures.
There's a detailed report on West Leeds' website but basically the home side weathered the early storm and were able to capitalise on Bridlington's need to go forward to recover the game. Final score was 32-12, which put all home supporters in a great mood for an impromptu garden party in the late afternoon sunshine.
The match also saw the end of a fine career for West Leeds scrum half, Joe Bedford. Joe's been a great ambassador of the game, playing for a number of clubs including Newport Gwent Dragons, Yorkshire Carnegie, Rotherham Titans and Doncaster Knights. At representative level he's also played for England Counties and … Yorkshire!
The first saw him playing was in May of 2014, scoring a try for Yorkshire at Sale against Cheshire. I've photographed him several times since then, including the aforementioned Twickenham final last year. Many thanks to him and best wishes for the future.