Warriors show their battling qualities to reach the final

Whitehall Warriors (+ 30) 41

Brighouse Rangers 36

WARRIORS booked a Handicap Cup final meeting with Halifax Irish at Siddal on Wednesday, May 9 after taking advantage of their 30 point start against opponents from three divisions higher in the Pennine League.

There was plenty of pride at stake in this derby clash and the Rangers defence was fierce, player coach Alex Muff urging his team on with some bone crunching gang tackling.

Whitehall withstood the early onslaught and when player coach Richard Casanove brought himself on after 15 minutes he put in the biggest hits of the day.

Brighouse aren’t near the top of the second division for nothing and the persistent pounding of their big pack eventually told as Scott Bradley crashed over. Andy Collins added the extras.

On the half hour mark Brighouse half back Stuart Proctor got his three-quarters moving and Andy Collins scored in the corner.

Eight minutes later Ross Young found an opening to score by the posts and, with the last play of the first half, Andy Sagars forced his way over on a sixth tackle power play.

With two more goal kicks added, Rangers had scored 22 unanswered points and Whitehall’s advantage overall was a mere eight points.

The gap was reduced further five minutes into the second half when Brighouse, still on a roll, put Mark Horne over in the corner.

With the goal added, things were looking grim for Whitehall.

However, the Warriors showed their fighting spirit and James Spivey and Luke Sagar drove the ball forward. Lee Nellist booted the ball to the corner and when Brighouse wingman Ben Collins tried to shepherd the ball over the dead ball line, Whitehall skipper Alex Scargill grabbed a try from nothing.

Whitehall, regaining their self belief, turned the screws with their best spell of the match with Stuart Syme, Andrew Johnson and Mark Bolgerto the fore.

Muff was sin-binned for a high tackle but Rangers cut out the penalties and came surging back. Stuart Proctor raced down the right hand side of the pitch and put wingman Ben Collins in by the flag.

The goal kick was missed but, with 15 minutes left Brighouse were confident of overcoming the small deficit.

However, Whitehall worked overtime to protect their lead, particularly ex-Rangers player Barry Stead.

Against the run of play, Whitehall halfback John Handscomb danced around two forwards and side stepped the full back to score a brilliant try. Jamie Holroyd booted the goal and Brighouse now had eight points to make up.

Rangers frantically responded and Karl Frankland found space to go over in the bottom corner but the kick was missed.

With five minutes left, Lee Nellist booted a tremendous drop goal and good defence sealed Brighouse’s fate.