Illingworth bid to cap fine season

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The Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL’s two cup finals will take place on successive evenings at the Shay this week.

Illingworth St Mary’s will play Greetland in the Skircoat Green Physiotherapy Challenge Cup on Wednesday (7.0), 24 hours after Ryburn United Reserves have done battle with Northowram Reserves in the Ziggy’s Metro Cars Invitation Cup.

Premier Division-bound Illingworth have hardly put a foot wrong in two seasons in the AFL, winning 45 out of 46 league games. In John Booth they have a man who scores goals for fun.

Greetland know what it takes to lift this trophy, having won it in 2009 and 2010. They have had a much changed side this season but finished their league programme strongly.

A tough route to the final brought wins against Calder 76 by 2-0, Northowram by 3-2, Hebden Royd Red Star by 5-3 and Elland United by 4-2.

After a first round bye, Illingworth beat Salem 6-2, Warley Rangers 2-1 and Ryburn United 2-0.

Last season’s beaten finalists Ryburn United Reserves will be hoping to go one better against Northowram Reserves from a division lower.

Ryburn have reached the final by beating Sowerby United Reserves 8-1, Sowerby Bridge Reserves 3-2 and Calder 76 Res 2-1. Northowram ended the hopes of Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves on penalties after a 3-3 draw, Salem Res by 8-1 and holders Midgley United Reserves by 7-2.

Ryburn United secured the runners-up spot in the Premier Division, behind Calder ‘76, with a 3-1 home win over Warley Rangers on Friday.

Warley went ahead when Dan Kirman got free in the box to head home from a deep cross.

Ryburn replied with a clever lob from George Turner.

Joe Swallow put Ryburn in front with a screamer from 20 yards before Owen Wilkinson made the game safe with a curling free kick from 20 yards.

Success rounded off a good few days for Ryburn after their 1-0 win over Huddersfield Amateurs in the Halifax FA Saturday Cup final.

However, Ryburn were unable to raise a reserve side to travel to Denholme United on Saturday.

Treble winners Carrington suffered their first league defeat of the Halifax Sunday League season last Thursday.

They lost 5-3 away to runners-up Halifax Hammers, who are set to finish five points behind the champions.