Thursday, 7 February 2013

Rivalry Report: Leeds Carnegie Conquer Celtics

The sun rose over a city divided on Saturday as Leeds Met Carnegie prepared to host the Leeds University Celtics in a varsity match of epic proportions. The Celtics had won 3 of their 5 games and stood 3rd in the division, eager to take the place of their bitter rivals in 2nd, whilst Carnegie sought to affirm their reputation as one of the premier teams in the northeast.

Carnegie gave a strong performance during the first period of the game. Their offence began productively, making well-executed runs to the outside that the Celtics struggled to contain. After a few minutes play the pressure paid off and they ran the ball across the goal line for a touchdown. The Celtics’ frustration was palpable, but the special teams kept their composure and were able to block the conversion attempt and return it the length of the field for 2 points.

The Celtics took possession of the ball from kickoff with a mind to make amends for the deficit. Caspian Paget led the charge from kickoff, running 40 yards and giving the Celtics a good scoring opportunity. A number of plays made decent yardage on the ground and soon running back Toby Richardson had put the first Celtic touchdown on the board. Following a failed 2-pt conversion, the scores stood at 8-6 to the Celtics.

As the game progressed the match became a defensive standoff. The Celtics recovered two forced fumbles and shut out the Met for the remainder of the half, allowing them to maintain their lead. However, Carnegie matched this solid performance by restricting the Celtics to short gains, and the scores remained the same until well into the second half.

As the light began to fail, Leeds Met strove to break the deadlock. Several pass plays came close to completion, but were blocked by the Celtics. This forced the Met to rely on their running game, which had seen little success since the beginning of the game. However, as the final whistle approached their running back drove hard and the blocks became solid. The Celtics were not prepared for this renewed vigor and a strong thrust put Carnegie over the goal line once more. The conversion attempt was blocked once more, leaving the scores at 12-8 to the Met.

Only a few minutes remained on the clock and the Celtics drove incessantly to regain the lead. Adam Smith connected with Darren Mould for a number of first down passes which took the offence far into opponent territory. With seconds remaining on the clock the Celtics kept fighting for yards, desperate to cross the goal line but their efforts were in vein. The final whistle blew too soon and as the moon took its place in the sky that night supremacy in Leeds was decided - Leeds Met 12, Leeds Celtics 8.

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