Whitehall Warriors (+23) 54, Illingworth 40
With a plus twenty-three start Whitehall Warriors progressed in the Handicap Cup holding their Division Two opponents to just nine points on the field.
Illingworth opened the scoring in the first minute when Jack Bradbury and Jordan Ryder created an overlap for Andrew McElroy, unusually finding himself on the wing, to go over in the corner. Shaun Challoner’s touchline conversion made it 6-0 to the visitors.
The Warriors hit back with scrum half Paul Stead cutting through the defence from fifteen metres out and touching down under the posts. The conversion levelling the scores.
On the quarter hour Whitehall went ahead when the Illingworth defence made a hash of a kick into the in goal area, allowing their opponents to touch down for a converted try.
Bradbury cut the deficit to two points crashing over wide on the left following a strong run towards the posts from second row James Green.
Defensive errors saw Whitehall take a commanding 24-10 lead by the half hour, a handling error by the visitors leading to the first of two converted tries, failing once more to deal with a kick into the in goal area the second.
Two spectacular tries either side of half time got Illingworth back into the match. The first on thirty-seven minutes saw the centre Jordan Ryder take Steve Barber’s pass and race seventy metres to score under the posts. A minute into the second half Bradbury went in from half way for his second. Challoner converted both to leave his side trailing by just two.
Two minutes later McElroy put his side ahead, stealing the ball in a tackle ten metres from his own line and outpacing the defence to go in from long range. Challoner again converted.
Whitehall introduced veteran Dave Beaumont in an attempt to steady their side, however Illingworth’s strong start to the second half continued with Graham Dobson feeding Aaron Horner to cross on the right. The conversion put the visitors ten points ahead in the match if still fourteen away from winning on the handicap.
The prospect the Mason Green outfit progressing in the competition however all but ended on fifty minutes when some terrible defence allowed the Warrior’s hooker Lee Nellis to ghost untouched futile tackling attempts to score close enough to the posts and make the conversion a formality.
A Whitehall drop goal on fifty-five minutes made the score 34-31 in favour of Illingworth.
Just after the hour mark the visitors scored the best try of the match when Bradbury and Dobson exchanged passes, the centre touching down for his hat-trick try.
It completed the scoring with Illingworth 40-31 ahead on points, but the plus twenty-three handicap seeing Whitehall go through 54-40.