Leeds Carnegie 38, London Welsh 31
After Rotherham Titans’ 17-14 defeat at Bristol in their first leg yesterday, the prospect of an all-Yorkshire Greene King IPA Championship play-off final grew today as Leeds Carnegie took a seven-point advantage into their second leg against London Welsh in Oxford next Sunday.
Leeds needed a lead to take to the Kassam Stadium, and fly half Glyn Hughes gave them a start with two penalties in the opening six minutes – the second from the halfway line.
Welsh replied with an Alex Davies penalty before the recently-signed Rob Vickerman scored a fantastic try for the hosts, taking Hughes’ pass before cutting back across the defence, Hughes converting for 13-3.
Another Hughes penalty, which might have resulted in a London Welsh yellow card, extended the margin but Leeds lock Mike Myerscough was then sin-binned by referee Andrew Small for knocking down a Welsh pass on his line, the visitors being awarded a penalty try which former Leeds star Gordon Ross converted for 16-10.
Hughes and Ross then traded penalties as half-time approached before Leeds scored their second try, winger Jonah Holmes bursting downfield before finding Vickerman, who put fellow centre Fred Burdon in for the five-pointer which Hughes converted.
Even so, there was still time for visiting replacement Alan Awcock to score a try which Ross converted and Hughes to land a penalty which gave Carnegie a 29-20 interval advantage.
A fired-up Welsh kept up their momentum with Awcock’s second try, putting them only four points adrift, but although Leeds did manage two more Hughes penalties, they could not break down the visitors’ defence, despite a sensational sevens-style attack involving Vickerman and full back Stevie McColl.
Ross landed two more penalties but a last-second reply by Rob Lozowski extended Carnegie’s lead to seven points.
Rotherham’s prospects were greatly improved by Jamie Broadley’s try from the last move of the match at Bristol, Jordan Davies kicking through, the Titans’ other points coming from three Juan Pablo Socino penalties.