Yorkshire Division Four North West: Wibsey 19 Halifax 8

ONE more victory from their remaining two fixtures will put Wibsey into the Yorkshire Division Four 'Super Eights'.

They are at home to Bramley Phoenix – their biggest rivals for fourth place in the North West section – next Saturday and are at current leaders Knaresborough on Saturday, January 27.

With Bramley losing 25-10 at home to Leeds Corinthians and Wibsey completing the double over Halifax, the gap between the two has grown to 12 points, but Phoenix not only have a game in hand but also have the bottom two to play, making next weekend even more of a shoot-out.

"We are halfway through the season and not only do we feel that we can get into the Super Eights, but we feel that we can get promoted (as one of the top two)," said Wibsey scrum half Kyle Carter.

"We have some players out injured but we are getting some of them back."

While James Birkbeck and Michael Kite may not see any action for the rest of the season, Jon Nall, Chris Farley, Danny Carr and Alex Cerson are due to return.

Wibsey won 12-10 at Halifax in November in the reverse fixture but the visitors knocked the Villagers out of the Yorkshire Vase, so a tight 'decider' was anticipated.

The hosts, who regathered their kick-off, benefited from a couple of strong early carries by centre and man of the match Adam Armitage, and had the first chance of points in the 16th minute.

Halifax full back Chris Dennison fly hacked downfield, and the ball was deflected to a team-mate who was standing offside, but although Wibsey centre Brad Wright made good contact with the penalty attempt, it went to the right of the posts.

Five minutes later, Wibsey were behind.

Halifax won a penalty, which they kicked deep to Wibsey's left-hand corner, and Elliott Mercer won the line-out for No 8 Dean Cotton to peel off the maul and score.

Dennison failed with the conversion, but added a penalty on the half-hour after Wibsey had escaped a dodgy moment when Luke Wilson's clearance was charged down.

There was an amusing interlude when Wibsey replacement Scott Taylor was called on to remove some dog faeces, only for the poopy bag to disintegrate as he threw it towards the touch-line, but there was even more reason for the home side to smile in the 39th minute.

For the first time in the match, Wibsey managed sustained possession in Halifax's half and, when little seemed on, fly half Luke Helliwell danced his way over from distance for Wright to convert.

Trailing by only a point at 8-7 when Wibsey felt that referee Warren Rimmer (West Yorkshire Society) had given them little was a good outcome for the opening 40 minutes, and they soon extended their advantage in the second half.

A visiting prop juggled and then dropped a pass near their 22 five minutes in, and hooker James Brown picked the ball up and powered his way over as time seemed to stand still.

Wright's superb conversion from near the right touchline made it 14-8 but Wibsey were sometimes their own worst enemies, with wayward kicking continuing to give Dennison opportunities to run the ball back or hoist a high kick, and they were also still prone to give away penalties.

Carter's snipe down the right wing almost brought them reward, however, but prop Simon Birkbeck then showed strength and determination to score Wibsey's third try in the right-hand corner 64th minute, though his celebration was a bit 'in your face'.

Wright missed the difficult conversion but the home side never really threatened a bonus-point try, which was disappointing as they had almost a quarter of the match in which to do so.

Dennison was late tackled after he hoisted another kick, and that was followed by a yellow card for Brown for over-aggressive clearing out in the 75th minute.

Nevertheless, Wibsey's seven-man pack then exerted a control that their eight men never had, although they finished the derby on the defensive, with Corey Walker being held up over the line in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Carter added: "The forwards stuck to their game plan, but our backs still need to gain more experience of union as many of them have come from a rugby league background."