Jamel Chisholm has grown accustomed to being quickest off the mark, so it was perhaps only right that his exhilarating first-minute try should lay the platform for Leeds Carnegie’s bonus-point victory in the inaugural match of the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy.
The Leeds Rhinos winger, 19, is spending time on loan with Diccon Edwards’ men this season in order to gain first-team experience.
The former Lawnswood School pupil, yet to make his Rhinos debut, has twice been named Rugby League’s fastest man and the way he opened the scoring last night in front of a crowd of 2,255 made it easy to see why.
Collecting a pass from centre Christian Georgiou inside the left channel, Chisholm displayed blistering speed to outstrip the Doncaster defence and cross the line in the corner.
Leeds never looked back thereafter, albeit they were aided by the first-half dismissal of Doncaster flanker Adam Kettle by referee Greg Macdonald, who also sinbinned Leeds’ Calum Green and visiting duo Dougie Flockhart and Rhys Buckley.
Winger Curtis Wilson and loosehead prop Sam Lockwood both scored twice to underline Leeds’ superiority in a welcome antidote to their thumping 53-10 defeat at Newcastle Falcons seven days previously.
It is hard to see past Newcastle as winners of the Championship but Leeds must surely retain a desire to return to the elite.
They began at a gallop last night, with Georgiou showing impressive strength and pace to burst past a Doncaster defender and find Chisholm lurking menacingly on the left flank.
Chisholm finished in style and celebrated with a punch of the air before Joe Ford’s conversion put Leeds 7-0 up and on their way to victory in the first match in the competition between the county’s three representatives in the Championship.
After the early breakthrough, Leeds were quicker and more vibrant at the breakdown and their scrum was solid too, forcing Doncaster to concede a penalty which Ford conceded with consummate ease in the 10th minute.
It was already looking a mountainous task for Doncaster to establish a foothold on proceedings.
In the 16th minute, Knights winger Flockhart was shown a yellow card for a cynical late challenge on Leeds full-back Stevie McColl. It was just what Doncaster did not need.
In the 21st minute it got much worse as Kettle, the blindside flanker, was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge at a ruck.
Kettle protested his innocence and incredulity at the decision but Ford kicked the subsequent penalty goal to put Leeds 13-0 ahead. Flockhart returned to the field but the 14 men of Doncaster offered precious little as an attacking force.
Leeds gradually began to make their numerical advantage pay and Lockwood, the loosehead prop, emerged from a thicket of players to barrel over the line from close range in the 32nd minute.
Moments later fists began to fly, with Leeds forward Green in the thick of things.
Green and Doncaster prop hooker Buckley were both shown yellow cards before Wilson, Leeds’ right winger, dived over in the right corner for a try which Ford converted to put Leeds 25-0 up at the break.
In the 52nd minute, Burdon broke Doncaster’s line and raced down the right flank before showing intelligence to usher Wilson over the line for his second try.
Doncaster huffed and puffed but, to their credit, refused to throw in the towel.
They were finally rewarded when skipper Matt Challinor crashed over from close range for a try which Jamie Lennard converted. With 14 minutes remaining, Lockwood to take a short pass and crash over from close range to complete his brace before Georgiou claimed a deserved try when he took Burdon’s pass to cross the line.
Leeds Carnegie: McColl, Wilson, Georgiou, Burdon, Chisholm, Ford, Doherty, Lockwood, Graham, Tussac, Green, Myerscough, Beck, Rowan, Burrows
Subs: Nilsen, Imiolek, Hooper, Baldwin, Walker, Hampson, Barker
Doncaster Knights: Mama, Flockhart, Simpson, Tincknell, Lewis, Lennard, Silver, Davies, Buckley, McGovern, Challinor, Parsons, Kettle, Rawling, Planchant
Subs: Brown, Sowery, Cronin, Cadman, Boyde, Hallam, Barrett.