Old Rishworthians produced an excellent second half performance to beat Hullensians 31-21 last night and finish sixth in Yorkshire One while earning a Yorkshire Shield semi-final at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The game, which doubled as a league fixture and the Shield quarter final, was played under lights at Pontefract having been called off twice due to frost and then a waterlogged pitch.
The weather struck again but both sides played some exciting rugby in appalling conditions.
While it should have been a home fixture for Rishworthians, travelling held no perils for them as seven of their previous 12 league victories had been away from home.
Player-coach Chris Stone’s men could not get to grips with the game in the first half but turned it on in the second to win convincingly.
The only downside was that centre Sam Nunn and flanker Harvey Keighley-Payne had to leave the field injured and will miss the semi-final.
In the first half Rishworthians seemed incapable of getting their game going and were starved of possession and territory.
The only plus point was that every time they got into the Hull half they came away with points from the boot of Josh Kelly.
Hullensians took an early lead with a penalty, quickly cancelled out by Kelly’s first, which came after the first of a number of incisive runs from scrum half Ed Cockroft.
Hullensians retook the lead with a converted try after a strong rolling maul.
The sides then traded successful penalties before teenage fullback Sam Bake put in the first of many excellent tackles to save a certain try.
Left wing Anthony Shoesmith almost got through with a repetition of his winning try at Brods the previous Saturday, but it brought a penalty for Kelly to make it 9-16 at half-time.
Rishworthians shrugged off the first half blues and dominated the rest of the game.
Keighley-Payne broke through soon after the restart and when the ball went loose Cockroft was there to pick up and race to the line. Kelly added the conversion to level the scores.
Rishworthians were soon ahead. Right wing Luke Flanagan came inside to make a fine break before the ball went out to Shoesmith, who was stopped near the Hull line.
Rishworthians moved the ball back across and Keighley-Payne fed prop Harry Whitfield, who was unstoppable from close range.
A great run by teenage centre Ben Sutcliffe set up the next try, with Cockroft being on hand at the breakdown to scoop up the ball and dart through for his second try.
Straight from the restart Keighley-Payne burst through again, but the final pass did not go to hand.
But Rishworthians kept up the pressure and Kelly stretched the lead further with a penalty.
In the final minute Hullensians hit back with a consolation try, scoring from close range.