Rishies march on after Phoenix thriller

Aaron Canning
Aaron Canning

Old Rishworthians progressed to the second round of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy after a gritty 32-26 win at Rotherham Phoenix.

With five of their pack missing through injury and unavailability, the lightweight Rishworthian forwards were constantly pushed back by much bigger opponents and struggled to hold on near to their own line.

But their backs were in great form with the little possession they had and fullback Aaron Canning was exemplary with the boot.

He obliged with every penalty provided by his hard-working team mates, landing six successful kicks, two conversions and a try of his own.

It was always going to be tough for the under-strength visitors, but grit and determination coupled with pace and skill saw them through.

The writing was on the wall when the home side took an early lead with a try from a rolling maul, which Rishworthians were unable to stop near their line.

For a further 20 minutes they had virtually no possession. Then lock Fraser Swarbrooke stole a lineout on his own line which allowed a breakout.

He did the same thing in the home 22 and visitors won a penalty, which Canning converted for the first three of his 27 points.

Just before the break, Rishworthians were unable to hold the home forwards with a catch and drive for a second unconverted try to make it 10–3.

The visitors started the second period strongly and Canning won his second successful penalty from his own break.

From the restart, great work by Swarbrooke was followed by strong run by prop Reuben Pollard, who was stopped just short. The ball came out and player-coach Damian Ball swept through to score. Canning added the conversion.

Once again from the restart Swarbrooke took home side on. The ball went wide and centre Kurt Sutcliffe almost put wing Anthony Shoesmith in on the left. But he won a penalty for Canning to extend the lead to 16–10.

Rishworthians crossed the line again with the best move of the match, only to be called back for a forward pass and the home side hit back with a penalty.

Canning then cleverly intercepted and the ball went wide to Shoesmith, before coming back inside for Ball to put the full back in under the posts. He converted his own try.

Rotherham hit back with a penalty to cut Rishworthians’ lead to 26–16 and the visitors were caught again with another unconverted catch and drive try.

Undeterred they swept back and put the home line under pressure with Canning adding two more penalties.

With an 11-point cushion, Rishworthians were safe, although they conceded another unconverted catch and drive try with the last move of the game.