Bank Quay win BARLA Lancashire Cup

Friday night under the floodlights at Leigh Miners Twist Lane home, brought out a bumper 1300 attendance and another Warrington-Widnes derby as amateur neighbours Bank Quay Bulls and West Bank Bears did battle for the BARLA Lancashire Cup.

It was a real David Vs Goliath clash with the Bulls currently two divisions above the bears but you wouldn’t have guessed it as a full blooded encounter produced a compelling contest full of big tackles, big hits, commitment, tries, a skirmish and several yellow cards.

The epic final started in blistering fashion when a weaving run from Steve Curphey gave West Bank a good position and several tackles later, the centre nipped over for the first try of the game from dummy half. Steve Mellor goaled from the touch-line and it was 6-0 to the Widnes team.

West Bank dominated the first half hour and there was little surprise when they added to their lead. Bank Quay struggled to match the enthusiasm of their opponents with only former Warrington veteran Mark Forster, still going strong into his late forties and Phil Braddish making an impression between a whole host of poor passes, dropped ball and referee whistle.

West Bank hooker Greg Pichilingi took advantage and his never-say-die spirit saw him escape one tackle and then dodge between two more in the 17th minute for his fullback to again goal. Tommy Arrowsmith went for a drop goal in the 27th minute and although it missed the target, the scrum half turned try creator three minutes later when his well judged crossfield kick was taken on the full by Steve Curphey and the centre grounded his second in emphatic style. At 16-0 the game was slipping away from Bank Quay but the Bulls produced a lifeline after 35 minutes when a short pass from Anthony Braide sent Steve Bird buldozing to the line. Chris Forster goaled and the teams went to the break at 16-6.

Inspired play from the start of the second half brought possession for the Bulls courtesy of the clever Anthony Braide before the second row linked with Paul Cragg to put the ball wide for Nick Braide to touch down. Forster goaled and the Bulls didn’t have to wait long for the leveller when Anthony Braide and Chris Forster worked play right and Danny Woods finished well despite the Widnes side’s complaints to the referee.

Forster’s third goal handed Bank Quay a narrow advantage and only some excellent defensive work by Nicky Fox saved a try from the Bulls Steve Caley after West Bank second row Craig Simm was sinbinned for holding down. A couple of minutes later the same fate befell Bird, also shown the yellow card for holding down. Keil Hillman then spilled a high kick from David Jones and West Bank launched an attack from the scrum that saw Fox score on the hour to nudge the Bears in front 20-18.

Another cracking restart from Anthony Braide led directly to another try as Hillman atoned for his earlier error and Scott Davidson supported to step his way to the line. Surprisingly, Forster screwed his kick across the face of the posts and the Bulls lost Hillman to the sinbin after he deliberately stopped a quick tap taking place. Although they tried to respond, with Shaun McDermott and the continued efforts of Pichilingi outstanding, West Bank couldn’t find a way through.

Anthony Braide increased the Bank Quay advantage by two points after Arrowsmith was penalised for holding down and the close nature of the game got the better of Mickey Kelly and John Braddish who were both sinbinned following their part in a skirmish. The contest was set up and a dramatic last move saw Chris Forster weave across field, evading a clutch of tacklers before Darren Cragg took the pass and romped over for a glorious finsh.

BANK QUAY BULLS

1  Keil Hillman
2  Steve Caley
3  Mark Forster
4  Scott Davidson
5  Kieron Naylor
6  John Braddish
Chris Forster
8  Nick Braide
9  Danny Forster
10 Phil Braddish
11 Danny Woods
12 Anthony Braide
13 Paul Cragg
Subs (all used)
14 Darren Cragg
15 Steve Bird
16 Jimmy Astbury
18 Jason Garraghty

Tries: Bird (35), Nick Braide (41), Danny Woods (44), Davidson (61), Darren Cragg (80).
Goals: Chris Forster 3/4, Anthony Braide 1/2.

WIDNES WEST BANK

1  Steve Mellor
2  Mickey Kelly
3  Ste Curphey
4  Mark Hardman
5  Nicky Fox
6  David Jones
7  Tommy Arrowsmith
8  Paul Curphey
9  Greg Pichilingi
10 Shaun McDermott
11 Craig Simm
12 Sean Gilmore
13 Ryan Bates
Subs (all used)
14 David Dourley
15 Mark Ryan
16 Wayne Courtnage
17 Peter Clarke

Tries: Steve Curphey (2, 30), Pichilingi (17), Fox (60).
Goals: Mellor 2/4

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