Though determined to photograph at a new venue this weekend, ickledot eventually opted for one often visited before, drawn by the lure of two games in one afternoon. As mentioned quite a number of times now, this season has seen the introduction of Saturday fixtures for women’s teams and some clubs have used this to create ‘double headers’ - a women’s game followed by the regular men’s match.
Taking advantage of the fact that their men’s and women’s teams play in the same leagues, Barnsley and West Park Leeds have taken this idea a step further by arranging both fixtures on the same day. It means an early start, particularly as Barnsley is about an hour away from ickledot HQ, but it’s great being able to see two games in one day. Longer term readers may recall that the same arrangement was made with with the corresponding fixtures in Leeds on a much brighter day last November.
Unusually I was late for the women’s 12.30 kick off due to my discovery of a failed headlight bulb. Not wanting to return up the A1 and along the M62 with a light out in the darkness later, I found the Barnsley branch of Halfords, got the problem sorted (big thanks to them) and arrived at Barnsley Rugby Club just as West Park Leeds were scoring tries one and two.
Seeing as Barnsley were playing at home I opted to sit beyond the try line they were playing towards so I could photograph any of their attacks. Unfortunately these were rare as much of their attention was on defence rather than offence. Meanwhile West Park Leeds steadily increased their lead.
This continued in the second half and I was able to capture some of the many West Park Leeds scores. However, Barnsley did enjoy a good deal of possesssion and the final 0-52 scoreline didn’t quite reflect how well they played. More pictures here.
The murky skies lightened a little as the men came onto the pitch. Barnsley began the strongest, showing superiority in the first couple of scrums. Such forward pressure brought the first try on the right and it was the forwards again who supplied a second, this time on the left, quite close to where I was positioned.
I’ve not read an official match report yet, so memory could be playing tricks but I think the half-time score was around 15-8. While the sides were separated by a single score only, I still felt that Barnsley were stronger on the day and so chose to stick with them in the second forty.
The decision was a good one as Barnsley added several tries, none of which were particularly close to me. It was also becoming quite dark again so photographing grew increasingly difficult. West Park managed to apply some pressure in the second half, scoring a second try, though this left them vulnerable in defence.
A final score of 41-13 - congratulations to Barnsley. You can see more pictures here. So, over the two fixtures we have a draw: a win for the women of West Park Leeds and a win for the men of Barnsley. Until next time!