Spirited Warriors fight back for draw

Dan McLean scored Warriors' first try against Widnes Tigers
Dan McLean scored Warriors' first try against Widnes Tigers
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Leyland Warriors ARLFC’s Division Two team journeyed to Widnes Tigers – where they lost heavily 44-16 a year ago – and earned an 18-18 draw.

The game started badly for Leyland, who scored a converted try in the first minute of the game.

This sparked Warriors into life and they spent the next 15 minutes building their way back into the game, before Dan McLean found a small plot firm enough to display his trademark foot work to step his way through the defensive line, around the cover and under the posts, with Stewart McLean converting.

The second quarter of the game was all Leyland but they could not grab the lead.

Tigers started the second half as they had the first, capitalising on a Warriors error at their own end to score, before Leyland got on the front foot and Si Dempsey broke through the defence and took the full-back for a ride over the try line to score.

McLean’s conversion levelled the scores.

Tommy Gallagher’s offload then put Adam Bee in space and he beat the cover defence to score the try that would have put Leyland ahead for the first time.

To the surprise of every player on the pitch, the referee disallowed it for a foot in touch, from 30 metres away.

This rattled Warriors, who conceded back-to-back penalties and again, Widnes capitalised to take the lead.

With just eight minutes remaining, Leyland showed great determination to recover their composure and get back into the game. With time running out, Phil Baines attacked the line and hit Stewart McLean on an inside ball who broke the line.

Quick hands then found Callum Brown, who hit a superb line to race over the line, leaving a tricky conversion attempt to level the scores with less than a minute remaining.

Stewart McLean held his nerve and the game finished 18-18. This was probably a point won, rather than a point lost, given the character that Leyland showed to come from behind on three occasions.

Warriors’ Division Five team had no league fixture this weekend and faced the newly formed Shevington Sharks A team, going down 14-6.

Leyland themselves had a number of debutants in what proved to be another tight encounter.

The visitors took an early lead but Warriors worked their way back into the game, earning a repeat set of tackles before Andy Robinson squeezed over, with Nathan Davies’ conversion edging Leyland ahead.

Warriors turned the ball over repeatedly in their own half, which provided opportunities for Shevington to add two further tries to take a 14-6 lead into the break.

Leyland defended stoutly throughout the second half, with Sam Biggs and Brandon Jones making some big tackles, as neither side was able to add to their score.

The Under-10s were 40-38 winners at St Helens outfit Pilkington Recs.

Warriors scored their first try within minutes of kick off through Ellis Grice, who was named man of the match. Top tackler was Noah Smith.

Warriors Under-8s travelled to Bank Quay and were beaten 48-44 in another thrilling encounter but looked by far the better side in terms of their ball movement and support play.

Man of the match was George Bell, which was thoroughly deserved and Tom Cooper was named top tackler.