Wounded Lynx battle to victory in war of attrition

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Photo provided by Nathan O' Connor

Lancaster 28-18 Leeds

The Lancaster Lynx rugby league team have progressed to the quarter finals of the cup with an inspired performance against Leeds Trinity First’s.

Two Tries from captain Max Brown and tries from Matthew Buckland , Ben Robertshaw and Danny Myers constituted Lancaster’s efforts to the scoreboard in a match plagued by injuries.

From the very off, it was clear that this was going to be the Lynx’s toughest test of the season so far. Conditions were tough with a cutting wind looking to make kicking very difficult.

Leeds opened the scoring in the second minute of the game slicing through the Lynx defence with their first attack.

It took the Lynx minutes to respond with Max Brown barging over from close range after an offside had presented the Lynx with a new set of six. A missed conversion meant the score was tied at 6-6 with barely five minutes gone.

Leeds brought a huge amount of physicality and aggression to the match which took its toll early on when Mike Gibson was forced off the field with a serious ankle injury. Such aggressive Leeds tackling even saw Lynx powerhouse Max Brown lifted off his feet.

The home side broke the deadlock with a well worked try from Matthew Buckland who exploited a huge gap in the line after some good running by Nathan O’ Connor had opened up the defence. Goal kicker Ben Robertshaw stepped up to add the conversion with ease.

Leeds were never far behind, and quickly responded with a try of their own after the ball went out on the full. Some good running by the Leeds centre saw him slip past Winger Dennis Tate to cross over for the try.  The difficult windy conditions worked to Lancaster’s favour when Leeds found themselves unable to kick the conversion which would have brought them level.

The aggressive defence continued to hurt Lynx; a massive tackle saw Neil Kilgallon dragged back five metres. Elsewhere, a neck injury to Vuong Duong forced a substitution. With the home side beginning to be forced onto the back foot, a period of desperate defending was needed on the Lynx line.The home side responded to the threat from Leeds in heroic fashion, protecting their own try line with an iron will.

The first half came to a close with the score at 12-10 to Lancaster and everything to play for in the second half.

The home side carried their determination into the start second half. A kick through on the last tackle by Danny Myers forced a goal line dropout after the chase through from O’Connor.

The injury plagued Lynx began to suffer once again when a  rib injury forced vice captain Gareth Houghton off the field. Lancaster hit back  with a fantastic interception try from Ben Robertshaw to extend the score to 16-10.

Lancaster’s Adam Lacey matched Leeds for physicality in the second half when his fantastic tackle near the Lynx try line  gifted the home side with turnover ball.  Another crunching tackle from Lacey forced Leeds into a change of their own with a man coming off the pitch having fractured his cheek bone.

With the Lynx smelling blood, Captain Brown called on his men to step up the intensity by providing a shining example for them to follow. An unstoppable break by Brown found Danny Myers in support who crossed over for the try. Shortly after, Brown was rewarded with a try of his own.  A phenomenal break saw the captain dummy the Leeds tackler and slip through the gap for the try.

Injury problems threatened to overwhelm Lancaster when Dennis Tate exited the field following a blood injury, and the injured Vuong Duong was forced back on for a short period.

Two Leeds tries late on in the match marked the beginning of a come back, but this came too late  and the whistle blew for a 28-18 victory to the men in red and black.

Whilst Victory was certainly over shadowed by the injuries to Gibson, Houghton and Duong, Lynx Vice Captain Paul Davies hailed his team’s victory as ‘the best performance we’ve ever produced.’

Injuries are sure to be a huge problem  when Lynx face Manchester Met at home in the quarter finals. Despite such a lack of strength in depth, the team have proved they can match any team for physicality and skill. So as long as they can keep men fit, there seems no reason why the Lynx can’t enjoy a decent cup run.

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