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FULL TIME: Leeds Carnegie 30 Nottingham Rugy 26

By ANDI STARR

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 Falcons.

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 Conv)

REF: J Meredith ATT: 2,418  

2013-04-21T15:00:00

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