Brilliant Brighouse Rangers out-class Sharlston to set up Elland clash in final
Brighouse Rangers produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Sharlston Rovers 28-12 in the Yorkshire Division One play-offs semi-finals and set-up a clash with local rivals Elland in Saturday's final, at Featherstone Rovers.
Coach Glenn Barraclough master-minded Rangers' turnaround in form, following their defeat to Sharlston less than two weeks ago, in the last regular fixture of the season.
Rangers had the worst possible start, conceding a try in the first three minutes but levelled in the seventh minute with youngster Tom Oldroyd ghosting through the line after good work from Ben Waud.
Sharlston regained the lead with an unconverted try, but back came Rangers again and a shrewd kick to the line from Karl Frankland was finished off in the corner by Lewis Taylor.
The scores remained locked at 8-8 for the rest of the half, with both sets of forwards engaged in an arm wrestle but Rangers' fast rugby sapping the energy levels of a beefed up Sharlston side. Forwards Nicki Barraclough, Lee Robson, Ronnie Bailey, Gav Midgely, Kieron Cassidy and Ben Waud were winning the collisions, ensuring quick play the balls for Will Clerehugh to direct traffic.
Rangers emerged from the break full of vigour, enabling their pacy backs to do their damage, and in the 47th minute, a Jamie Barraclough kick through was regathered, and he offloaded out of the back of the hand to supporting flyer Lewis Taylor, who scorched over from 40 yards out.
The lead was extended by a superb try from left winger Lucas Birts. With Sharlston attempting to hit back quickly, a kick to the Rangers line was regathered by full-back Karl Frankland, and he broke the line before sending but 17-year-old Birts on an 80 yard run to the line for a converted score that gave the hosts an 18-8 lead.
Rangers’ half-backs Doug Heseltine and Jamie Barraclough, were calling the shots and great ball movement to the left found centre Tom Oldroyd, with two defenders in front of him, and the youngster demonstrated classy centre play, beating his man on the outside shoulder with a dummy and pace and cutting inside to score a fantastic individual try, goaled to put Rangers 24-8 in front.
Half-back Jamie Barraclough burrowed in from close range to put Rangers 28-8 ahead with 20 minutes left and an Ash Lindsay score late on was no more than a consolation for Sharlston.