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
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Transfer deadline day: The best memes and tweets, featuring Radamel Falcao, Javier Hernandez and Bart Simpson
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...
£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...
£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...