Wyke KO’d but they put up a real fight against Birkenshaw

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Birkenshaw’s Mickey Glenn hands off Warren Pitman Buy this photo Birkenshaw’s Mickey Glenn hands off Warren Pitman

Birkenshaw booked their semi-final place against Queensbury in the Jack Senior Memorial Cup after a fine 32-6 win over rivals Wyke.

The scoreline doesn’t do Wyke justice as they put up a brave fight and gave the visitors a real scare.

Wyke coach Craig Hillam was looking for a strong start from his men but Birky were on the scoreboard after just three minutes.

Centre Mark Nichols made a break on the left before beating off a would-be tackler to touch down. Matt Honeysett added the extras.

It was 12-0 after 16 minutes when Nichols made another break down the left, which allowed the supporting Honeysett to score. Honeysett converted his effort and it looked like Birky might run away with it.

Midway through the half, winger Mark Johnson cut straight through the Wyke defence, only to be hauled down yards short by a great tackle from Paul Bapty.

That seemed to inspire Wyke, along with the introduction of Micky Wormald. The home side took the game to Birky, forcing them on to the defensive and creating some real chances.

With the end of the half approaching, Wyke struck when burly prop Warren Pitman dived over and Barry McShera added the extras.

Playing down the hill, Wyke would have been confident of taking the game by the scruff of the neck but it was Birky who seized the initiative with some clinical finishing.

First Honeysett saw a gap and stepped his way over before prop Ben Kelly crashed over next to the posts just five minutes later. Honeysett gratefully converted both scores to give Birky a comfortable 24-6 lead.

Wyke fired back, showing some real character, with Simon Owen making hard yards up the middle and Darren Barraclough rolling back the years in the pack.

The home side applied some sustained pressure and only tough Birky defence stopped Pitman collecting his second try when he was held up over the line.

Wyke were nearly in again on the hour mark when McShera found full back Tim Stones but he couldn't hold on with the line at his mercy.

Birky capitalised on Wyke’s missed chances when centre Craig Morley collected stand-off Tony Aubrey’s grubber kick to skip over, and then Aubrey helped himself to a four-pointer when he side-stepped his way to the whitewash.

The outstanding cup semi-finals are – Jack Senior Memorial Cup: West Bowling v Wibsey Warriors; Birkenshaw v Queensbury. Hudson Foster Cup: Wibsey Warriors A v Queensbury A.

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