Siddal’s tilt at a fourth consecutive National Conference Grand Final ended in disappointment as Myton Warriors ground out a 23-22 win at Chevinedge.
In the end, the visitors’ success was probably more convincing than their paper-thin winning margin suggests, with only a 79th-minute try from Siddal backrower Danny Keane giving the home side a faint sniff of the most unlikely of comebacks.
Gareth Greenwood’s side, who only lost out on the league leaders’ prize on points difference, led 16-12 at the break but found themselves slowly but surely overpowered as the match went on.
In the end, Siddal’s lack of props - Scott Law was forced to play 80 minutes in the middle - and a lack of firepower from the bench, with Greenwood only using two of his four substitutes, put them on the backfoot against an efficient Warriors line up.
“It’s really disappointing to end like that, I don’t know to what say about it really,” said Greenwood, who only took over from his older brother, Lee, in the spring.
“We were really light for numbers; we had 10 players at training on Tuesday, 11 on Thursday and we were still piecing a side together on Friday night.
“That said, we had a good starting side but they just pipped us.
“In the end, not having a big enough squad probably caught up with us.”
Siddal had made the perfect start when back rower Mark Boothroyd, who looked the man most likely to break the line all afternoon, stormed over on the left after Greenwood and Shaun Garrod had shipped the ball wide.
The home side couldn’t build on that foundation though, with errors and penalties handing territory and momentum to the visitors, who went 6-4 up after 15 minutes when hooker Ricky Hough scored from close range and centre Ash James kicked the conversion.
A second try from centre Gav Drewery, again converted by James, pushed the score out to 12-4.
Siddal went on to enjoy their best spell of the game; scoring a fine try through Oli Marns, who backed up on the inside after Boothroyd and Richard Lopag had worked the opening, and then adding another when Law ploughed under the posts after a clever pass from hooker Craig Sanderson.
With Gareth Blackburn converting both, Siddal began the second half in front, although Myton cut the gap to 16-14 a minute after the break through a Kris Walker penalty.
After that, it was a tale of frustration as Myton began to dominate physically, eventually going ahead through a John Hobman try with half an hour remaining.
They stretched their lead with another Walker penalty with 15 minutes to go, and although the gap between the sides was only one score at 22-16, it was one Siddal never really threatened to bridge.
A Jordan Precious drop goal with nine minutes left put them virtually out of sight, with Keane’s late try scant consolation for Siddal.