Derby win takes Ovenden to play-off final

Ovenden v Normanton. Sean Dyson.
Ovenden v Normanton. Sean Dyson.

Ovenden won through to the Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division play-off final and eliminated local rivals Illingworth with a 52-30 derby win at Mason Green.

The visitors took a 12-point lead before their opponents got their hands on the ball. Winger Jake Kennedy returned a kick off 90 yards for a score converted by Joe Hopkinson.

Illingworth’s restart went out on the full, giving their opposition a penalty on half way. A grubber kick on the last tackle of the ensuing set found Kennedy in the in goal area and he touched down, Hopkinson converting.

The hosts hit back on seven minutes when a good break from within his own half by Tom McAdam was supported by Luke Sutcliffe, who raced in beside the posts. The full back converted his own try.

Ovenden wasted no time in reasserting their superiority, prop John Paul Morrow crashing over three minutes later. Hopkinson again converted.

It acted as a wake-up call for the home side, who took the lead with three tries in 15 minutes.

Millns grabbed the first, evading the defence from 15 out to cross for an unconverted try in the corner.

Scott Allen then completed a neat cross-field passing following Nathan Smith’s break.

Kennedy opened the scoring after the interval, going over wide on the right, a feat matched by opposite winger Corey Ashton to put his side six points up.

Sean Smith doubled that lead 10 minutes into the half crossing wide out. Hopkinson’s converted and added a penalty from in front of the posts.

Illingworth enjoyed their best spell of the half around the hour mark with two quick tries. Millns was the beneficiary of a couple of defensive errors and Bradbury’s stepping run from 20 out provided the second try, which Sutcliffe converted, cutting Ovenden’s advantage to four points.

Stand-off Niall Brady’s jinking 10 yard run and Hopkinson’s conversion made it a two-score game with 15 minutes remaining.

A serious injury to captain Andrew McElroy appeared to affect the home side Sean Dyson and Smith adding to Ovenden’s tally plus two Hopkinson conversions.

Ovenden will meet Sharlston in the final at Castleford next weekend.