Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Patched-up Leeds fall to late derby defeat at the hands of rivals Trinity

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LEEDS TRAVELLED to Belle Vue as Division One leaders on December 2, 1979, but were beaten by a stunning last-gasp try.

The Loiners – who went into the game well below strength and picked up more injury problems during it – looked set to claim a crucial victory when they led 14-13 in the dying seconds.

But as they tried to press for a winning score possession was lost close to the home line and Trinity were handed one last chance.

The hosts surged up field, with Graham Idle involved twice and a dramatic move ended when Steve Diamond crossed at the corner to snatch a deserved 16-14 triumph.

The league win was revenge for Trinity after a 12-7 home defeat by Leeds in a Yorkshire Cup final three months earlier.

The sequence of tight games between the sides continued in January, 1980, when Leeds won 17-13 at Headingley.

Leeds were rocked in the fifth minute of the league game at Belle Vue when prop Peter Harrison limped off and their lightweight pack struggled to hold a powerful Trinity six.

Trevor Skerrett, transfer-listed at £50,000, was outstanding for the home team, alongside Roy Bratt and Tony Rose.

Centre Keith Smith scored two well-taken tries and Trinity’s other touchdown went to Paul McDermott – brother of current Leeds boss Brian McDermott – who was playing out of position at scrum-half.

From the Loiners’ point of view, the game was memorable for ex-Wakefield winger David Smith, who finished off good work by Sammy Sanderson and Phil Cookson to score the 199th try of his career.

David Ward had a big game in defence for the visitors and John Carroll and try scorer Paul Fletcher also impressed.

Eddie Cunningham’s missed tackle led to the first of Smith’s brace, but the former St Helens man made amends with a touchdown of his own.

Neil Hague scored his first Leeds drop goal and Willie Oulton kicked two goals.

The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Trevor Watson reported: “The verdict was right for a Trinity side who flatly refused to quit after an uncertain start and the margin paid tribute to a great fight by a much-weakened Leeds outfit.”