Leeds 44 Wakefield 40: Jones-Bishop hat-trick seals win for Rhinos in Headingley thriller
21:42 GMT, 18 June 2012
Ben Jones-Bishop grabbed a hat-trick of tries to help Leeds return to winning ways in a try feast at Headingley.
The England Knights winger was one of 10 Rhinos players backing up from international duty 48 hours earlier and the Stobart Super League champions needed all their big guns to end Wakefield's three-match winning run.
With both sides scoring seven tries, the difference was provided by the boot of Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield, who kicked eight goals from as many attempts, including a crucial penalty on 65 minutes.
Wakefield stand-off Paul Sykes also enjoyed a 100 per cent record with the boot as he declined to attempt to convert winger Peter Fox's 79th-minute try in order to save time for an unsuccessful late victory bid.
Leeds' triumph, in a fixture held over from February because of their involvement in the World Club Challenge, was only their second in six league matches but it was enough to lift them back into the top eight at the expense of Bradford.
Hat-trick: Jones-Bishop was the hero for Leeds
The outcome was especially sweet for England captain Jamie Peacock who made the 450th appearance of his career while 18-year-old team-mate Stevie Ward enjoyed his first Leeds win on his fifth senior appearance.
The Wildcats, who lost 38-18 at Headingley in the Challenge Cup in April, twice held the lead after causing all sorts of problems for a woeful defence.
The champions had no answer to the offloads of exciting hooker Paul Aiton and former Leeds favourite Ali Lauitiiti yet they raced into a 12-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes.
However, both tries came against the run of play as the home side demonstrated their clinical counter-attacking ability.
Zak Hardaker, switched from centre to full-back in the absence of the injured Brent Webb, went 70 metres after collecting Paul Aiton's kick to register his 57th try in as many matches while Jones-Bishop topped that effort when he gathered Tim Smith's kick 10 metres from his own line and raced clean through the remnants of the Wakefield defence for a glorious touchdown.
The Wildcats were unfazed by the errors and Smith quickly made amends, hoisting an accurate kick for Vince Mellars to combine with Lauitiiti to get winger Ben Cockayne over and then sidestepping past Ryan Bailey to level the scores.
Wakefield were on a roll and they went in front through centre Dean Collis after a kick from full-back Richard Mathers rebounded fortuitously off the boot of defender Rob Burrow.
With neither defence showing any signs of getting their act together, Leeds levelled through second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan following a fumble by Mathers before Lauitiiti became a tryscorer for the third successive match, taking Aiton's short ball to crash over for a popular score.
The scores were tied once more when Carl Ablett got Jones-Bishop over for his second try three minutes before half-time.
It was a similar story after the break, with Wakefield second rower Kyle Trout taking Aiton's near the line to score his first try of the season following a sustained spell of pressure on the Rhinos line.
Leeds duly equalised when second rower Weller Hauraki crashed over and they regained the lead on the hour when Jones-Bishop raced onto Sinfield's kick to complete his hat-trick.
Sinfield put two scores between the sides five minutes later with a penalty awarded for dissent and it looked to be crucial as the visitors scored again through impressive prop Oliver Wilkes.
However, Ablett powered his way through a tiring Wakefield defence for his side's seventh try six minutes from the end before Fox grabbed what proved to be a consolation effort.