Brighouse are champs after thrilling finish

Brighouse Sports' Mark Regan
Brighouse Sports' Mark Regan

Brighouse SC are the new Halifax League champions, defeating reigning title holders Elland WMC 7-5 on Wednesday in a thrilling finale to the season.

The pair went into the final match at Russell Way level on points and they had five winners each but the home side took the two extra points by a 190-184 margin.

Brighouse were following up their Division Two title success after joining the league last season.

They were ending a seven-year reign by Elland, who looked out with the washing a few weeks ago but didn’t give up the silverware without a titanic fight.

An 8-4 success in the first meeting at Elland the previous Wednesday had left the sides locked together but Brighouse had the all-important green advantage for the rematch.

Brighouse had three of the first five winners through Bob Whitfield, Richard Hobson and Danny Fountain..

Martin Griffiths and Adrian Brier kept Elland in the hunt and Brighouse led by five chalks at that stage.

Josh Mordue struck a crucial blow with a victory to 12 against Robert Holmes but Robert Hitchen and his son-in-law Ian Booth put Elland right back in it. Booth put in a particularly strong finish to beat Tony Riley, who was 18-12 up.

With the match 5-4 to Elland, it was left to Andrew Wood to claim the decisive win for Brighouse, beating John Davies 21-17.

Brighouse’s Riley said the match had lived up to all expectations and what was a sizeable crowd would have been much bigger had the other teams not been playing on the same night.

“Elland fought all the way and played very well,” said Riley.

“Both matches were played in the right spirit and there were plenty of handshakes afterwards.”

Steve Foster, not playing due to injury, provided sandwiches as Brighouse reciprocated Elland’s hospitality from the previous week.

Riley said Brighouse were delighted with their success and would look forward to facing Elland again next season.

The celebrations were fairly muted on Wednesday, as most of the Brighouse players had to drive home, but Riley said they would make up for it at the club’s presentation evening in November.

Brighouse v Elland WMC: Paul Smyth 15 AR Brier 21, Rob Whitfield 21 J Armitage 19, T Riley 19 Ian Booth 21, R Wormald 19 M Griffiths 21, Daniel Fountain 21 P Demetriades 18, Richard Hobson 21 M Holden 13, Joshua Mordue 21 R Holmes 12, Andrew Wood 21 J Davies 17, M Regan 16 R Hitchen 21 , H Kettlewell 16 J Senior 21.

Therere was almost as much interest in the foot of Division One as the top in midweek with several teams fighting to beat the drop of the final day.

And it was Oxenhope who went down alongside already-doomed Crossroads B.

Oxenhope were beaten 11-1 at Crossroads A.

It finished 8-4 in Hill Crest’s favour at home to Siddal Park, another side who could have gone down, while Sowerby West End scrambled a 7-5 home win over Mytholmroyd.

Clive Austin, Peter Collins and gareth Nicholson were the Mytholmroyd winners at the Sowerby Bridge venue but West End did more than enough to stay up

Asa Briggs beat Todmorden Park 9-3 and Crossroads B bowed out of the top flight with an 11-1 loss away to Clayton Victoria.