Wibsey Warriors 30 Queensbury 22
Wibsey Warriors were triumphant in the Jack Senior Memorial Trophy, overcoming a spirited Queensbury outfit in a thrilling final.
A blustery afternoon with intermittent showers provided the backdrop to an exciting game which was full of passion, spirit and well supported by a vocal crowd at Salem rugby club.
The opening minutes were littered with penalties against both sides and it was no surprise when the referee lost patience and dispatched Wibsey’s Ross Simpson to the sin-bin for one too many infringements.
Queenie took full advantage of the additional man when Sam Cheney crashed over after Calum Murgatroyd had been brought down just short. Scott Swann was unable to add the extras but Queenie were out in front.
A couple of minutes later Wibsey were in further trouble when classy prop Tom Hainsworth proved unstoppable when he crashed over from a short ball 15 yards out. This time Swann was successful with the conversion and Queenie were dreaming of cup glory at 10-0.
They continued to put Wibsey on the back foot, with the impressive Hainsworth and fellow prop Dan Hawksworth regularly forcing the opposition on to the defensive.
Halfway through the first half the game swung towards Wibsey when a neat chip kick from Todd Carter allowed Harry Hall to gather and touch down. Luke Helliwell added the goal to reduce the deficit to 10-6.
Wibsey were beginning to find their feet and on 29 minutes they were in front when a fine handling move saw Hall feed Carter, who in turn found the speedy Nick Fontaine, who raced in to score. With Helliwell’s successful conversion, Wibsey hit the front 12-10.
Wibsey began to apply some real pressure to the Queenie line and only some great defence resulted in the attacking player being held up over the line on no less than three occasions.
However, with just minutes remaining to half-time, the Queenie defensive line did crack when Chris Vogel collected a short ball to force his way over, allowing Helliwell to add the extras.
Wibsey quickly increased their lead after just seven second-half minutes when Fontaine found loose forward Ryan Smith with a lovely slipped pass which gave him the chance to touch down.
Queenie refused to lie down and, with some real determination, got themselves back in the game on 23 minutes. Some neat interplay between Josh Naylor and Jack Kulson saw Naylor scamper in for the try which Swann duly converted to make it 22-16.
The stage was set for a grandstand finish and the crowd were on their feet when the impressive Hainsworth picked up the ball in his own half, neatly side-stepped one Wibsey defender and then another before being hauled down just when he seemed to be going all the way.
Wibsey responded to the threat when Jimmy Rodgers collected a superb kick through to feed the supporting Helliwell, who promptly dived over to make it 26-16.
The referee awarded a penalty try following a late challenge on Helliwell which resulted in a heated confrontation involving all the players from both sides.
Queenie’s Andy Walker rounded off the scoring with minutes left but it was purely a consolation effort as Wibsey picked up the silverware along with the bragging rights.