Newsome Panthers (H)
Clayton finally grind down Newsome, after blistering start.
Clayton recorded another emphatic victory, to strengthen their position at the top of the league table. With Emley Moor, Higginshaw and West Bowling A all pulling out of league ties after the previous victory against Worth, the league is now close to completion. The league title now appears more and more likely to rest on the result of the game against Brighouse away, which will surely be pencilled in for the last tie of the regular season. With this victory, Clayton technically recorded a 12th successive victory. Coach Scott Pendlebury was able to name a strong squad, with several players missing out on selection and also a relatively clean bill of health. With the Bradford cup semi final against bitter rivals Queensbury imminent, Clayton were looking to put out a strong message and performance ahead of the tie. They started impressively. After a knock on from kick off, Phil Redgrave
was wheeling away in delight after burrowing over from acting half. Craig Hodgson
quickly followed him, after smart handling down the short side, he forced his way over despite several defenders close attention. With Ryan Wilkinson
adding both difficult conversions, Clayton had swiftly built a 12-0 lead in the opening 5 minutes. For the following 30 minutes, Newsome showed why they are third in the league. They showed great courage and whilst the game did turn scrappy, with several penalties and knock on's interrupting the flow of play, the visitors were certainly making themselves known. Two moments of note came and went, when Craig Hodgson
was harshly penalised for an attempted double movement, when for all else to see it appeared he had merely used obvious momentum from the position he had gained. Secondly, a small fracas erupted after James Rhodes
made his presence felt in the tackle. Just before the interval, interchange Josh Lanfear
used quick thinking and deception to smartly dive over, to at least secure a three score advantage as the half time hooter sounded. After a mixed first half, Scott Pendlebury made his feelings known and also reminded his players that in 120 minutes, his team had kept Newsome scoreless, which in itself, is no mean feat. The second half started as the first half had, with a quick score. Josh Lanfear
went one better than his first half effort, with a pacey, weaving break from half way, leaving the chasing defenders at his wake. That was Lanfear's 5th try in his last game and a half and he is showing his undoubted potential as the season progresses. Newsome then finally crashed over the whitewash, after a spell of prolonged pressure, Clayton's defence finally cracked when the Newsome centre forced his way over out wide. Clayton quickly responded though and subsequently saw the rest of the half out without further alarm. Firstly a teasing kick from Jimmy Waddington
was patted back for David Harrison
to pounce and slide over. As a result of this, Newsome were reduced down to 12 men, as one particular tackler took exception to the 'patting back' of the ball and was sent to the sin bin. Oliver McElroy
then crossed out wide, after great handling across the line. He quickly doubled his tally, supporting a great break involved James Flanagan
and Phil Redgrave
to slide over under the uprights. After a dull period, Clayton had quickly found their stride again and were now playing some attractive rugby. The final word was had by Harrison, who out sprinted the covering defence to slide over and seal a comfortable and confidence enhancing victory, against third place rivals Newsome Panthers.