By Chloe Horswill
An LGBT+ Leeds rugby team has made history as it became the first Yorkshire club to face another all-inclusive rugby side at Weetwood Playing Fields.
The match ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Leeds Hunters as they led going into the final moments, only for the Newcastle Ravens to come back and win it 22-24 in the last minute.
The Hunters formed in November 2016, and the match against the Ravens marked only their second game as a club.
Since then, the team has enjoyed an overwhelming sense of support that has helped them to build a team with 30 players in the squad.
To commemorate the occasion, an LGBT flag was flying high over the clubhouse to honour the importance of the match and what it signified to both sides.
In the past month, the team has been held back by a number of injuries, but they still managed to field a strong side with 24 players turning up for the match.
Despite conceding the first try of the game, the home side pulled it back and left themselves in a good position to start the second half level at 5-5.
An especially good performance from scrum-half Matthew Barton, which included a try, helped push his team into the lead and it was clear that confidence was building within the side that lost their last game 3-36 to Yarnbury.
However, as the game came to a close, it was clear that the match fitness levels weren’t quite up to the standards they wanted as more players were forced to leave the field with fresh injury concerns.
Despite the Ravens’ strong finish, that saw both a try and conversion in the dying moments, the home side were in good spirits as they congratulated their opponents and took to the field to celebrate the historic day for the Hunters.
Speaking after the game, Christy Thomson said the team could take positives from the match moving forward despite the late drama.