Shay success for fast-starting Stump

Stump Cross celebrate their 3-1 Challenge Cup final success
Stump Cross celebrate their 3-1 Challenge Cup final success

Stump Cross ended a 15-year wait to get their name back on the Halifax AFL Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win over Greetland at the Shay last night.

Mark Leonard, manager of gallant losers Greetland, summed it up perfectly with his comment ‘we lost it in the first half’.

His side made a nervous start at the climax of the Skircoat Green Physiotherapy-backed competition while Stump Cross were on the front foot from the first whistle.

Greetland got an early warning when Damian Watkins was inches away from reaching Josh Hiley’s driven cross.

The breakthrough wasn’t long in coming when a free kick wide on the left was curled into the corner of the net from the impressive Liam Brompton.

Stump, the league runners-up, now had their tails up and were playing some tidy football and using the width of the pitch.

Despite their dominance, Stump had ‘keeper Wayne Codman to thank for a superb save that kept out a Mark Heppenstall effort.

Greetland were being pushed back and Mickey Conroy, along with Asa Lumb, were key men for Greetland as they tried to blunt the Stump attacks.

As the game approached the half hour mark Stump struck again with a real beauty. A Lee Marsh free kick was headed on by Dan Crossland to Watkins, who turned smartly to rifle home.

Matthew Hoyle was inches wide with a header a minute later following good work by man of the match Tom Robinson.

Hoyle was causing Greetland plenty of problems with his intelligent runs and when his ball to Watkins beat the offside trap Craig Taylor in the Greetland goal had to pull off a top class save.

Stump looked to be cruising but Greetland were a different outfit in the second half. They enjoyed much more of the ball and were getting forward more.

Stump remained solid at the back with Ben Hiley outstanding.

Greetland gave themselves hope 10 minutes after the restart when Danny Dorward found Andy Hurcombe. He cleverly allowed the ball to run through his legs to the unmarked Heppenstall, who smashed the ball into the net.

A Paul Gee free kick was headed inches wide by Tom Wall as Greetland went in search of the equaliser, but the game was settled five minutes from time when a Robinson free kick from 40 yards went through everybody.

Greetland; C.Taylor, A.Hurcombe, M.Conroy, P.Gee, A.Oldfield, J.Highley, A.Lumb, M.Heppenstall, C.Ainley, D.Dorward. Subs; N.Wallace, T.Wall, J.Crowther.

Stump Cross: W.Codman, C.Gent, J.Hiley, B.Hiley, L.Marsh, L.Brompton, T.Robinson, D.Crossland, M.Hoyle, D.Watkins, S.Hiley. Sub; A.Ackroyd.

Referee: P.Crabtree.