Rugby league: Leeds' quality shows through
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 05 September 1998
THE MOST sterling fightback of the season was submerged in a Leeds second wave last night in a match of genuine top-of-the-table quality.
St Helens finished up on the wrong side of a clear-cut scoreline, but they showed great character to level the scores early in the second half.
The trouble was that Leeds were equally determined and the way that Iestyn Harris inspired them to pull clear once more marked them down as a team that will go the full distance this season.
Saints had the chastening experience of trailing 18-0 without playing badly. They tried everything they knew to breach Leeds' defence but were kept out by tackling that was ferocious even by the standards the Headingley side have set this season.
Meanwhile, Leeds were razor-sharp in attack, taking advantage of all their opportunities to stack up three converted tries.
Harris and Francis Cummins stretched Saints on the right to prepare the way for the first try after four minutes. When the ball went the other way, Saints were short-handed and when Chris Smith missed his tackle on Brad Godden Marcus St Hilaire was in at the corner.
A wonderful ball around the corner from Terry Newton to Adrian Morley set up the second, although Saints strongly suspected a forward pass.
Even when things went wrong, they came out right for Leeds. Daryl Powell could not hold another Newton pass, but had the presence of mind to kick the ball ahead. Powell must have thought that his days of scoring 45-yard tries were past, but he made it to the line.
It was vital for St Helens to make a breakthrough before half-time and they did so when a rare Leeds mistake, Darren Fleary dropping the ball near his line, led to Paul Sculthorpe going over.
Immediately after half-time, the power of Vila Matautia took him over for another Saints try, also converted by Sean Long.
When Paul Newlove went half the length of the field from Sculthorpe's pass, Saints were right back in it. Long could not add that goal, but a penalty soon brought the scores level.
But Harris' perfect goalkicking exhibition continued with a penalty to restore Leeds' lead. His brilliant run direct from the base of the scrum then produced a try that put them back in control.
Harris still had time to create a try for Ryan Sheridan with two minutes to play to leave a scoreline which was a harsh commentary on Saints' efforts.
A game that reflected much credit on both sides ended with controversy, with the St Helens coach, Shaun McRae, claiming that one of his players had been racially abused by an opponent, leading to Keiron Cunningham's intervention that lead him to being sin-binned. St Helens are asking the Rugby League to investigate that allegation.
Leeds: Harris; Rivett, Cummins, Godden, St Hilaire; Powell, Sheridan; Fleary, Newton, McDermott, Morley, Farrell, Glanville. Substitutes used: Holroyd, Golden, Hay, Mathiou.
St Helens: Atcheson; C Smith, D Smith, Newlove, Sullivan; Hammond, Long; Goldspink, Cunningham, O'Neill, Perelini, Davidson, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Pickavance, Matautia, Anderson.
Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).
Latest in Sport
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Six things we learnt: Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United; Henderson becoming the genuine heir to Gerrard
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
Steven Gerrard tribute match: An alternative XI the Liverpool player wouldn't want crashing the Anfield party
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...