Ince Rose Bridge claim league triumph


Foggy Featherstone was the setting for the last Gillette National Youth League game before the competition switches to summer in 2011.

A tough truncated season came down to a Grand Final between underdogs Dewsbury Celtic and Ince Rose Bridge.

Despite a plucky effort from Celtic and in particular stand-off Andy Bates and multi-skilled prop Josh Brooke, it was the Wigan team that dominated the game from the start with  Kenny Baker, Declan McLoughlin and Jack Morrison particularly outstanding.

The moment prop Jordan Lyons spilled the ball on the first carry, Celtic were on the back foot and the impressive Baker was twice hauled down close to the line before human bowling ball Morrison knocked-on.

Bates gave an example of his tricky running style  but it was Ince Rose Bridge that opened the score in the fourth minute when a towering kick from halfback Connor Matthews dropped from the gloom and Celtic fullback Josh Sykes couldn’t take. The rebound off his body came back off the posts and Matthews pounced for Baker to kick the first of five goals.

The signs were ominous for Dewsbury Celtic when smart footwork from Declan McLoughlin saw the stand-off create a gap. Ince Rose Bridge then went for the kick again from Matthews and centre Joe English tapped it away from Sykes into his other hand from the bounce and then had enough momentum to get to the line. Baker stroked the conversion over the crossbar and Rose Bridge led 12-0.

The Wigan side piled forward and nearly came up with a third try from Danny Robbins only for a perfect last ditch  tackle from Celtic wing Joe Edwards to halt the movement. Not to be denied, Rose Bridge nabbed their third try on 16 minutes when clever work from Matthews and prop Brad Roden released McLoughlin on a veering run to the try-line.

By this time Ince were on a roll and the Dewsbury team had no answer, being marched back seventy metres in two minutes thanks to big forward drives and two penalties. Centre Danny Farnworth was kept from scoring before Baker twisted over from dummy half to ensure a 22-0 lead inside the first twenty minutes.

With Bates; Brooke and Lewis Wilson finding some form, Celtic rolled up their sleeves and only some fine clean-up work from Liam Hand stopped the Yorkshire side from scoring after a magical run from Bates and a solid kick from scrum-half Ryan Crossley.

Eventually Dewsbury Celtic were rewarded with the final play before half-time. Taking the ball inside his own half  Brooke spotted space and fired a perfect cut-out pass left. This put centre Matthew Sheridan in a bit of space and he found the support of Oliver Hallas for a great finish. Sheridan’s conversion made it 22-6 at half-time.

The underdogs made the better start to the second half with a bomb from Brooke being spilled but all Dewsbury’s early pressure came to nothing when Elliot Castlehouse knocked-on at the line.

Ince Rose Bridge quickly redressed the balance, first with a crunching English tackle forcing a drop out from another intelligent Matthews kick and then substitute Adam Jones broke the line and ran 30 metres. From the very next play, Rose Bridge trio of Matthews, McLoughlin and Baker combined for Nathan Penny to score their fifth try and there was more to come.

Another big surge from Jones caused problems for Dewsbury Celtic and as they were still trying to organise McLoughlin grubbered through for Matthews to touch down. Baker made it 32-6 with the conversion and was the key man as Ince got to within ten metres of the line. His quick play-the-ball gave the chance for Matty Meadon to scoot over.

Trailing 38-6, Bates tried to inspire his team and went close with a typical piece of running while big substitute Thomas Quinn also won a penalty but the defence was impregnable as Castlehouse was denied again.

At the other end McLoughlin forced a drop out with a tackle on Sykes behind the line before a classic dummy and step saw him collect a second try. It wasn’t quite the perfect night for the stand-off, he was sin binned four minutes from the end for deliberately slowing a play-the-ball. Despite a spirited finish from Celtic, the Rose Bridge defence held firm to secure a comfortable win before they collected the trophy from Great Britain rugby league legend Garry Schofield.

 1  Josh Sykes
 2  Joe Edwards
 3  Matthew Sheridan
 4  Elliot Castlehouse
 5  Oliver Hallas
 6  Andy Bates
 7  Ryan Crossley
 8  Josh Brooke
 9  Danny Buckley
10 Jordan Lyons
11 James Delany
12 Tommy Crabtree
13 Lewis Wilson
Subs (All Used)
14 Sam Whitworth
15 Andy Smith
16 Jack Maguire
17 Thomas Quinn

Try: Hallas (35).
Goal: Sheridan 1/1.

 1 Nathan Penny
 2 Liam Hand
 3 Danny Farnworth
 4 Joe English
 5 Danny Robbins
 6 Declan McLoughlin
 7 Connor Matthews
 8 Jack Morrison
 9 Matty Meadon
10 Brad Roden
11 Mike Houghton
12 Mike Kenny
13 Kenny Baker
Subs (All Used)
14 Ben Sumner
15 Adam Jones
16 Matty Cambell
17 Jake Robins

Tries: Matthews (4, 49), English (8), McLaughlin (16, 60), Baker (19), Penny (44),  Meadon (52).
Goals: Baker 5/8.

Official Man-of-the-Match: Kenny Baker.

Scoring Sequence:
0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 0-22, 6-22; 6-26, 6-32, 6-38, 6-42.