Donnelly’s heroics can’t save Rhinos Development Academy from defeat against Hopwood Hall

A hat-trick from Jamie Donnelly was not enough to stop the Leeds Rhinos Development Academy with Leeds City College from falling to a 20-14 defeat against Hopwood Hall in their latest Colleges Premier Division clash.

The winger crossed three times as the Rhinos fought gallantly to overcome an early deficit, with Hopwood Hall racing into a 10-0 lead inside for the first quarter of the match.

A nice move down the short side following a Leeds scrum saw Sam Avison send Donnelly over for his first try of the afternoon, cutting the home side’s lead to just six points at the interval. Any hopes of continuing the comeback after the half time break were dashed shortly after the restart though, as Hopwood Hall capitalised on good field position to crash their way over the line and push the score to 14-4.

But with 20 minutes left to play the Rhinos hit back again, Avison this time making a line break and finding Donnelly on his outside to score his second try of the game.

A fantastic touchline conversion from Dylan Price narrowed the gap once more, but Hopwood Hall struck five minutes later as Man of the Match Ben Forster came up with what proved to be the match-winning score.

A neat finish in the corner from Donnelly following a slick passing move down the left-hand side completed his hat-trick and capped off a fine individual performance, but it was not enough for the Rhinos as they fell to a 20-14 defeat against the Lancastrians.

The Leeds Rhinos Development Academy team will now take a break from league action, with a Colleges KO Cup fixture against Huddersfield Giants Development Academy next up on Wednesday 29th January, Kick Off 2pm at Leeds Rugby Academy in Kirkstall.