THE first matches of the New Year threw up plenty of drama for local Sunday League sides, with no bigger fixture than Rastrick Bowling Club hosting Thornhill Briggs in the Eddie Hebblethwaite Halifax District Cup quarter final.
Rastrick, impressive leaders of Division Two, were taking on their local rivals who are well in the chase for promotion from Division One.
It was Glen Hall’s higher ranked side who took the lead through Luke Johnson’s deflected effort. Their second involved none such fortune however, as a swift passing move culminated in Richard Heins sweeping home.
Kevin O’Brien’s Rastrick side already have plenty of higher division scalps this season, so it was no surprise that Bradley Rufus grabbed a vital goal back following a concerted spell of pressure just before the interval.
Their momentum continued into a dominant opening to the second half and the in-form Rick Mellor planted home a cool header to restore parity.
It was player-manager Hall who then swung the game back in Briggs’ favour – a snapshot beating Dan Barnes when he may have done better.
The entertainment didn’t end there as Frank Cullen had chance to draw Rastrick level from the spot but he couldn’t beat the Briggs’ keeper from 12 yards.
Alex Hallam latched onto a punt over the top, before a late Matty Roy goal sealed a 5-2 victory and a semi-final berth against Premier Division title aspirants Carrington FC.
In The Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League Division One, there were two hard to take losses for both Old Pond and Triangle.
Pond started brightly against perennial bogey side Oddfellows; Jamie O’Callaghan just too high with a looping header after his initial shot was well saved by Peter Jennings.
It was the King Cross based home side who took the lead against the run of play, a ball over the top being latched onto by Chris Swaine who finished well.
Chris Payne rounded Jennings only for a defender to cover brilliantly to deny him as he looked to stroke the ball home.
Michael Barlow should have slid Lee Potter in for a tap in but couldn’t find the telling pass, while Jennings made a superb save from a powerful Payne effort.
Triangle were also denied despite an excellent showing against Halifax Hammers.
They looked well placed to pick up a point but were denied in the dying moments as Matty Waller’s cross was headed home by Atif Hussein for a 3-2 win.
In Division Two, Top Club maintained their excellent form as they defeated Hens Face 5-2 at Lane Head, a result which continues to add believe that the Rastrickians can join the promotion race sooner rather than later.
The Bridge Balti League Cup – Quarter Finals: Old Pond v Triangle (Lane Head), Thornhill Briggs v Hebden Bridge FC (Hipp. & Light. High Sch.), Hens Face v Rastrick Bowling Club (Savile Park).
The Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League – Premier Divison: Sun Inn v FC Champs (Greetland Comm. Centre). Division Two: Stubbing Wharf v Top Club (Savile Park)