Old Rishworthians 66 Rotherham Phoenix 12
The pace and support of Rishworthians’ play totally blew away a Rotherham side who had been expected to be tough opposition.
Only in the set scrums did the visitors pose any threat, although they managed to grab 12 points, late on in the second half when the home men eased off for a period.
Kurt Sutcliffe had an outstanding game in the centre with some fine angled runs and support play to snatch three of Rishworthians’ 10 tries.
Aaron Canning at fullback showed his experience and pace to grab two tries and added eight conversions while right wing Chris Flanagan was on hand to mop up two further ties.
Before the start there was a minute’s standing silence for former club president John Payne, who died this week, but after that Rishworthians were constantly on the move.
Although they saw little of the ball in the first five minutes, they scored with their first attack of the game.
They managed to scramble the ball away from a scrum and player coach Damian Ball made a break in the centre and fed the supporting Canning, who coasted over under the posts and then added his first conversion.
Rishworthians scored almost from the restart. Ben Robinson won possession in the lineout and was almost driven over. The ball then went wide and Chris Flanagan touched down the first of his tries.
Straight from the restart, Jamie Bloem, on his return to the club, set off on a 50-yard run, before getting the ball out to Canning, who ran in for his second try and converted it to give a 19-point lead.
Prop Ryan Mudd and lock Jioti Bakoso took the ball on in a fine driving run and then stand-off Luke Flanagan put in a delicate chip for Sutcliffe to pick up and score the first of his hat trick and ensure a bonus point for Rishworthians. Canning added the conversion.
The centre was then on hand to finish off a fine move which saw forwards and backs interlinking. Canning added the conversion to give Rishworthians a 33-0 half-time lead.
Soon after the restart, Bakoso completed a move which saw play switched back and forth across the field and then Chris Flanagan touched down for a classic textbook try as the ball went swiftly along Rishworthians’ back line. Canning added a fine conversion.
Soon after Rishworthians again ran the ball back out of defence and Luke Flanagan finished off the move with a try in the corner, which Canning converted.
Canning then combined well with Sutcliffe, before turning the ball inside for flanker Chris Dyson to score and converted the try to give Rishworthians a 59-0 lead.
The home side eased off and Rotherham took advantage, forcing over in a forward drive and then scoring when a prop forward broke free to touch down for a converted try.
Stung into action again Rishworthians finished off in style, Sutcliffe completing his hat trick from an inside pass by Dyson. Canning landed his eighth conversion to end the game.