Halifax Cup finalists decided

Kieran Nicholson got Illingworth off to a flying start
Kieran Nicholson got Illingworth off to a flying start

Illingworth and Brighouse Rangers will contest the Fee Halifax Cup final at Old Brodleians RUFC on Saturday, May 3.

It promises to be a close game with the pair occupying the top two places in the Pennine League’s Championship One section.

Illingworth were 28-4 winners away to a spirited young Greetland side from Division Two while Brighouse booked their ticket to Woodhead for the third successive year with a 12-0 home win over Premier Division side Keighley in Saturday’s other semi-final.

Illingworth took the lead with barely a minute gone when, following a play the ball under the posts, Luke Sutcliffe’s long cut out pass found winger Kieran Nicholson with enough space to touch down in the corner. Nicholson converted superbly.

Sutcliffe was the provider for Illingworth’s second on the quarter hour, making a weaving break though would-be tacklers in centre field. Joe Crossland was on his shoulder to finish and Nicholson converted.

Luke Brown made it 16-0 after 30 minutes, steaming onto a well-timed Liam Manning pass from 20 yards out to go over wide on the left for an unconverted try.

Hooker Sutcliffe was again involved as Illingworth opened the second half scoring against the slope and elements, his scything run giving centre Jack Bradbury the opportunity to force his way over from close range.

Bradbury could have enhanced that lead moments later but failed to link with the support. However, he made amends as the hour mark passed, when good hands from half backs Andrew McElroy and Ben Harris saw the centre stride through.

Greetland’s never say die attitude, with Jordan Whippey and George Banham to the fore, was rewarded on 64 minutes when a neat passing move put Jordan Sykes over wide on the right.

The visitors had the final say with eight minutes to play following Graham Dobson’s astute kick over the defensive line. The ball was hacked on by Adam Millns, who won the race to touch down.

Props Wayne Jowett and Alan Bottomley helped Brighouse’s pack dominate the early stages.

The home side took the lead with a well-executed move which saw flying wingman Karl Frankland cross out wide. Gary Proctor was unable to convert.

Indiscipline from Rangers led to Keighley having the lion’s share of the possession as the first half came to an end.

Resilient defence from all meant the visitors were unable to capitalise.

Rangers were determined not to let the visitors over the line and Proctor extended their lead with a penalty.

With 10 minutes effectively sealed the game when the Keighley centre dropped the ball following a good tackle from Jamie Barraclough. Chris Burns swooped and raced away and scored. Proctor converted.

Brighouse withstood late Keighley pressure and veteran Martin Luxford, Reece Spurr and Stuart Proctor were best for them.