Old Brodleians’ second half fightback from 21-0 down was not quite enough as they bowed out of the Yorkshire Shield by 28-24 at Pontefract.
Coach John Cole fielded a much changed side against fellow Yorkshire One opposition.
Regulars Danny Vento, Luke and Lee Scrimshaw and Matt Willis were missing from the pack and were replaced by Jonny Lodge, Ryan Harris, Nick Womersley and Rob Jennings, who switched from centre to No 8. In the backs, Andy Clay returned in midfield with Phil Town moving onto the wing and Matt Turner making his debut on the left flank.
Pontefract were quick to take the initiative and took the lead on five minutes following a rolling maul, the ball being moved for left winger Richard Dedicoat to touch down, Jamie Benn converting.
Brods began to find their feet and control possession but the hosts doubled their lead to 14-0 on 15 minutes, breaking away through centre Andy Dean who touched down following missed tackles for a converted try.
The visitors were left with a mountain to climb on 25 minutes when they lost lineout ball and another defensive lapse allowed Dean to go under the posts, leaving fly half Benn with an easy kick.
The Woodhead men showed more determination at the start of the second half and were encouraged by early pressure and good possession from the scrum and lineout, where Womersley stole the ball on Pontefract’s throw.
A Danny Wood penalty got Brods on the scoreboard and the outstanding Jennings, who was busting tackles and carrying the ball well, grabbed a try which was converted by Wood to make it 21-10.
On the hour mark Clay showed good footwork and strength to tough down and Wood’s conversion from the touchline but Brods firmly in the hunt at only four points behind.
The visitors swept 24-21 ahead when Jennings made a good break and the supporting Harris took the pass to score on the left, Wood adding another excellent goal.
However, Pontefract threw everything at the Halifax side and snatched victory when scrum half Simon Fletcher wriggled free to scramble over the line, the final whistle following the conversion.
Although beaten, it was an encouraging return to form for Brods prior to Saturday’s visit of Bridlington.