Irish stun Saracens to march into Cup final

Slaithwaite Saracens 12

Halifax Irish 32

(Pennine Presidents Cup)

Halifax Irish celebrated St Patrick’s Day by reaching their first ever Pennine Presidents Cup final with a stunning win at Premier Division Slaithwate.

They will now play the winners of Drighlington and Keighley at Dewsbury Rams Stadium on May 7.

Anthony Irvine’s side came up with their best performance of the season to shock their Huddersfield based opponents. The desire to win this game was evident from the start, a ferocious defensive effort led by Jack Holmes, Andy Brocklehurst and Chris Muxlow setting the platform for victory.

Half back Chris Holroyd was in sensational form, he tormented the Saracens with a superb kicking game while piercing the defensive line on numerous occasions to set up several tries.

Irish got off to a good start with a Martyn Silcox try courtesy of Holroyd’s astute kick, Holroyd kicking the first of five conversions.

Slaithwate had a good spell and hit back with a well worked converted try to level matters.

There wasn’t much between the sides as they battered each other; however, a super handling move resulted in a try on the stroke of half time for Michael Reed. Pete Howard, who was influential throughout, punched a big hole in the defence for Brocklehurst and Norman to combine and create the try. Holroyd’s touchline conversion giving his side a 12-6 interval lead.

Both sides made handling mistakes early in the second half with nerves getting to them. Dave Copping’s timely intervention saved a certain try. However, after three repeat sets the pressure told and Slaithwate levelled with a converted try.

Irish were simply magnificent in the final quarter and took control of the game. Holroyd released Muxlow and his slick pass saw Norman romp over under the posts. A Holroyd penalty edged his side 20-12 ahead after which Tony Sheard returned the ball with interest before unleashing Macauley Nortcliffe who crashed over after a well timed diagonal run.

The Saracens knew the game was slipping away and Brocklehurst ended a miserable afternoon for them when he gleefully raced in to put the icing on the cake with minutes remaining.

Queensbury A 32

St Josephs 14

(Division Five)

Queensbury A put in a fantastic performance to beat a very strong St Josephs team, who boasted the likes of former professionals Lee St Hilaire and Richard Aka in the ranks.

It was St Hilaire who scored the first try as well when he handed off some poor attempts at tackles to score.

Queeny responded with a beauty. The ball was moved wide and Darren Brown fed Mark Wright who out stripped the defence on a fantastic 60 metre sprint, Boocock converting.

Wright scored a second with another long range effort before completing his hat trick. Queeny scored further tries through Michael Boocock, Jimmy Simpson and Arran Moore.

Dewsbury Moor A 22

Queensbury B 76

(Division Seven)

Queensbury B got back to winning ways with a thumping away day win.

Queeny started the game well and scored early doors before going on to rack up the huge score. The highlights of the day were two length of the field efforts from rapid fullback Tony Clarke, who scored four tries in total, and there was yet another touchdown for Steven Mason.

Further tries were scored by Chris Coates, Scott Ratcliffe, Zain Butt, Ian Thorpe and Daz White (2), who also kicked 10 goals.