WEST Leeds, riding high in Division Three with the best defensive and attacking record in the Pennine League, were always going to be a hard nut to crack on their own midding, writes David Beaumont.
Their reputation of being a hard team was unfounded as they played the match with discipline resulting in a fine display of rugby league football.
It was even for the first 10 minutes as both teams muscled up against each other. Player-coach Richard Casanove, in particular, was leading from the front for the Warriors.
It took a classic double drop off to break Whitehall as wingman Robson Fountain slid in at the corner.
The Warriors kick to re-start went straight into the hands of Sam Nicholls who took advantage of some poor tackling as he went all the way to the line.
The Leeds side were now in full flow and threw the ball about resulting in Liam Copland going over in the corner. His conversion put his team 14-0 up with 15 minutes to the break.
Whitehall, however, hit back with their best spell of the match. Ashley Caine, Josh McClean and Andrew Johnson stopped the flow of the Leeds outfit and Joe Fee and Ryan Brook kept Leeds busy with constant probing runs.
Rick Tillotson was held on the line, then Johnson, but the inspirational Caasanove wouldn’t be denied. Jamie Holroyd booted the conversion and at last Whitehall had something going their way.
Inspired by their success, Whitehall surged forward, Paul Stead and Tillotson getting the ball through hands to captain Alex Scargill.
Half tackled, he feigned to pass the ball and, as the defenders loosened their grip, he made them pay as he charged over the line. With Holroyd’s goal kick, Whitehall went in at half time trailing by only two points at 14-12.
The second half belonged totally to West Leeds as they turned on the style, scoring 20 more unanswered points.
The Warriors never gave up trying and came out of this match holding their heads high.
West Leeds 34
Whitehall Warriors 12
Andrew Bennett Memorial Trophy
Brighouse Rangers 6
Methley Royals 54
Pennine ARL Pennine Cup Round Two
METHLEY Royals eased to a comfortable victory against Rangers whose coach Craig Young lost five key players on Saturday morning.
Rangers started the game well but when centre Alan White opened the Royals’ account on 19 minutes, the floodgates were well and truly opened. Further touchdowns followed by the half-hour for stand-off Matty Handforth, Biscomb and scrum-half Andy Speake. Winger Kris Ward and hooker Chris Woolford crossed before the break, with centre Sam Payne adding his fourth goal for a 32-0 interval lead.
Tries followed within 13 minutes of the restart for winger Josh Dixon, Handforth and Speake, Payne landing a conversion, before Brighouse opened their account as the game entered the final quarter. It came through Scott Bradley, with Darren Robinson slotting over the conversion. Methley, however, closed on top with Biscomb completing his hat trick with the last two tries of the game.
Best for Rangers were veteran Andrew Houlihan, Scott Bradley and Craig Young.
Brighouse Rangers A 0
Pennine ARL Division Five
LEEDS club Whinmoor were an unknown quantity to a young Rangers side, but to throw a spanner into the works a number of key players were called up for first team duty due to injuries and work commitments.
Whinmoor were up for a solid physical game and immediately put the Rangers defence under pressure forcing a number of drifts and near misses for the whitewash. This soon paid off as they were able to score a quick succession of tries within the first 20 minutes.
Regular prop forwards Nicky Barraclough and Tom Pearson were unavailable this week but veteran Terry Moon Snr and Dan Hines stepped up putting in a number of impressive drives and tackles.
Despite this, nothing seemed to go right for the Rangers. Every time they gained any momentum this was quickly dashed with repeated errors.
Team captain Lee Robson and half-back Joe Taphouse set a number of plays in an attempt to gain some initiative, however the new mix of players often found themselves unable to complete the sets and continued to make errors.
Rangers started the second half by gaining confidence and asking questions of the Whinmoor defence. However, not one of the set plays came off and Rangers continued to make errors. This eventually led to Whinmoor capitalising and again they were able to get points on the board.
Rangers realised that they had nothing to lose and opted to give it one last push. A tremendous tackle from full-back Matty Turner really lifted the players spirits, however Whinmoor were to have the last word with a try before the final whistle.
“Lets not get too disheartend, this is a team with a lot of new faces, with players missing and we have not had a pitch to train on for some time,” said Briggs.
“Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about this at the moment due to the weather, but if we all get to training and get fit, and we take the time to learn these moves everything will come and I guarantee things will begin to come together.”
BRIGHOUSE Rangers ARLFC is to hold a Sportsman’s Dinner on Friday, March 8 at the Brighouse Sports Club.
An evening of entertainment is promised and all compared by Neil `Billy’ Whealdon, formerly of Halifax RUFC.
Guest speaker is former St Helens and Great Britain stand-off Tommy Martin, a Knowsley Road legend. It will be entirely a gentleman’s evening and sports memorabilia is to be auctioned.
Tables of ten cost £300 and per person £30, with a three course meal and a late bar.
“This is an evening not to be missed and is a big fundraiser for your local rugby league club,” said chairman David Barnes.
Contact David on 07540870120 for tickets.