Rastrick avoid slipping up as O’Brien’s men press promotion claims in style

Rastrick's Bradley Rufus (right) gets bogged down against Beehive & Cross Keys
Rastrick's Bradley Rufus (right) gets bogged down against Beehive & Cross Keys

Rastrick Bowling Club avoided a potential banana skin against a plucky Beehive & Crosskeys in blizzard conditions.

Rastrick manager Kevin O’Brien was unsure the match should have gone ahead in very poor conditions, and his usually slick-passing title challengers struggled to play much football as their opponents, with just two wins from 17 outings, sniffed an opportunity to pull off a shock result.

It was perhaps no surprise that a deal of power rather than guile allowed the Rastrickeans to forge a lead. Beehive got themselves in a tangle in defence and Bradley Rufus barged through to fire home.

The visitors had a useful target man and created a few openings of their own, but as the game wore on the higher placed side looked the more likely to add to their total.

Frank Cullen smashed home from outside the penalty area to double his side’s lead, before the Beehive defence and keeper once more lacked communication and gifted the free scoring forward his second.

O’Brien introduced Luke Briggs and the fresh legs proved a fillip on an energy sapping pitch. He grabbed two goals to put the match out of the visitors reach having done well with a header from a set piece before drilling a shot home from the edge of the six yard box.

Beehive’s work ethic and keenness deserved a goal, and they took their chance from the spot for a consolation. However, Cullen made sure the reprisal was short-lived as he spun and fired home at the other end to secure a 6-1 victory and with it his hat-trick.

Top Club had crept into the promotion places behind Rastrick in Division Two with a fine run of form, but as soon as their achievements were lauded they duly slipped up against Hebden Bridge who leap-frogged them in the table.

With the points tight at the top, the Rastrick side fell to sixth after a 3-2 reversal but are unlikely to panic and will go in as favourites against Kings Cross Park on Sunday.

Only Triangle of the former Brighouse Sunday League sides took to the pitch in Division One, and David Whiteley’s men picked up a valuable victory in an end to end clash with Bradshaw.

Having been dragged a little too close for comfort to the relegation mire, the victory ensured they stayed above Bradshaw in the standings with a 6-5 victory.

Sun Inn still look in perilous danger of the trap-door in the Premier Division after circumbing to a 6-1 reversal at the hands of Engineers.

With a number of teams at the bottom also struggling for points and one less side likely to be relegated after the folding of FC Royal of Pellon, Lee Nicholson’s side still have plenty of games left to remedy their predicament however.

FIXTURES (11:00)

The Eddie Hebblethwaite Halifax District Cup – Semi Final: Carrington FC v Thornhill Briggs (Beechwood Road).

The Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League – Premier Division: Sun Inn v The Vine (Carr Green Rec.).

Division One: Bradshaw v Old Pond (Natty Lane, Illingworth), Elland Sports Reserves v Triangle (Elland Cricket Club).

Division Two: King Cross Spts Res. v Rastrick Bowling Club (King Cross CB & AC), Top Club v King Cross Park (Lane Head).