NOTTINGHAM'S late fight back was not enough to prevent a
30-26 defeat at Leeds, as the home side secured a fourth place
finish to earn a play-off semi-final with Newcastle
At one point Leeds held an 18-point lead, but the Green and
Whites stormed back to within four points with tries from skipper
for the day Tom Calladine and Ryan Bower.
A late try from Shaun Malton, after Leeds had again breached
their line, earned a couple of bonus points.
Already guaranteed second place, all that was remained was to
discover their semi-final opposition, and it was Bedford who
clinched third place with victory at Moseley.
Early dominance at the scrum brought Leeds a penalty for Joe
Ford to open the scoring in the 11th minute, but Nottingham
wasted a good chance to cancel out that score when Rory Lynn hit
the post with his first kick of the day.
Within minutes Ford doubled his side's advantage, and soon added
a third to make it 9-nil before Nottingham finally began to get
into the game.
And they finished the first half the stronger to force the
opening try of the game when Calladine sent winger Alex Lewington
clear, after excellent work from debutant No 8 Alex Gray.
Lynn missed the conversion and so the sides went in at the break
with Leeds leading 9-5.
The home side had had much the better of things in the scrum,
and that trend continued in the second as a series of five metre
scrums had to be reset before the referee eventually
awarded Leeds a penalty try, Ford converting to make it 16-5.
With the Nottingham scrum struggling, Bower was then sent to the
sin bin and Leeds soon made their numerical advantage count as
James Currie broke clear for a try, Ford again on target with the
conversion to make it 23-5.
But when Calladine pounced on a loose ball at a scrum he took
the defence by surprise to race clear for his second in as many
games. Lynn converted to reduce the deficit to 11 points.
Bower then forced his way over for a try, which Lynn again
converted, and suddenly the home side saw their hopes of finishing
fourth slipping away, with their lead cut to just four points.
A late try from Fred Burdon, again converted by Ford, seemed to
have given the home side the win they needed, but again Nottingham
hit back, this time Malton diving over, with Lynn making it 30-26
with the conversion.
Although Nottingham pressed for the winning score, Leeds held
their nerve to book their place in the play-offs.
LEEDS CARNEGIE 30 (Currie, Burdon, Penalty
Tries; Ford 4 Conv; Ford 3 Pens) NOTTINGHAM RUGBY
26 (Lewington, Calldine, Bower, Malton Tries; Lynn 3
REF: J Meredith ATT: 2,418