Rugby League: Leeds find improbable win pipped by the post: Cook's fatal miss

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The Independent Online
Leeds. . .15

Wigan. . .16

LEEDS came within inches of snatching the Academy Cup in an exciting curtain-raiser at Old Trafford, writes Dave Hadfield. A penalty from Paul Cook in the dying minutes hit the upright, denying Leeds a victory which had seemed improbable when they trailed 10-0 early in the game.

As damaging to Leeds as the Wigan tries from Kris Radlinski and Simon Haughton was the loss of Graham Holroyd, their most experienced first-teamer, with a groin injury.

Despite that blow, they battled back through tries by Mick Shaw and Marvin Golden. A touchline kick from Cook put them level and a drop goal from the same player edged them ahead for the first time.

When Cook, another of the Leeds players with first team credentials controversially included in this Under-19 side, added a penalty, the Yorkshire men were set to receive their reward for their innovative apprenticeship scheme.

But Wigan's centre, Martin Hope, found a way through some hesitant tackling to put his side back into a single point lead.

As time ran out in a game which made up in tension what it lacked in technical perfection, Cook got his chance when Wigan were caught handling the ball offside.

But his kick from 30 yards and at an angle bounced clear off the post and Wigan hung on to win.

Leeds: Maher; Golden, Cummins, Cook, Gleadhill; Holroyd (Law, 12), Gibbons (Handley, 75); Pearson, Shaw, Fozzard (Wright h/t), Kennedy, Leatham (Hirst, 73), Vassilakopoulos.

Wigan: Craig; Radlinski, Hope, Stevens, Barrow; Long, Wilson; Riley, Canillon (D Smith, 10), Griffiths (Prest, 62), Knowles, Haughton, Hatton.

Referee: S Danson (St Helens).

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