Ruthless Saints thrash title rivals

Illingworth St Mary's'From L-R ' Mick Rhodes (management) Luke Prossor, Mike Gregory, Phil Livsey �, Rab Langley, Gareth Gaukroger, Scott Hamilton, Andy Gregory, Warren Gray & Pete Southwell (Management)'Front L-R ' Brandon Field, John Booth, Mark Partington, Joe Griffin, Lee Cartwright & Declan Rothery'Missing ' Callum & Ste Cook

Illingworth St Mary's'From L-R ' Mick Rhodes (management) Luke Prossor, Mike Gregory, Phil Livsey �, Rab Langley, Gareth Gaukroger, Scott Hamilton, Andy Gregory, Warren Gray & Pete Southwell (Management)'Front L-R ' Brandon Field, John Booth, Mark Partington, Joe Griffin, Lee Cartwright & Declan Rothery'Missing ' Callum & Ste Cook

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Illingworth St Mary’s roared to the summit of Division One with a runaway success in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL.

They ruthlessly crushed title rivals Sowerby United by 7-1 on the 3G pitch at Trinity Academy in one of only four games to go ahead on another soggy Saturday.

Both sides put unbeaten records on the line in front of a bumper crowd.

Hosts Illinworth were without leading scorer John Booth through injury but that didn’t blunt their attacking edge.

Sowerby started brightly but Saints drew first blood, Joe Griffin tricking his way into in the penalty area to fire his side ahead after 15 minutes.

Illingworth continued to press forward and the ball broke from Griffin’s 50/50 challenge on the edge of the area to Gareth Gaukroger, who chipped the ‘keeper in fine style for 2-0.

Warren Gray, Dec Rothery and Andy Gregory kept things tight at the back and Illingworth were never really under pressure.

The hosts made it 3-0 before the break when a Gregory free kick was headed in by Scott Hamilton.

Illingworth maintained the tempo after the break and it didn’t take them long to score a fourth.

Phil Livsey burst out of midfield to beat the ‘keeper with an effort into the corner of the net.

Griffin got his second when he jinked past two defenders and shot into the top corner.

Lee Cartwright fired in number six from a tight angle and with Sowerby pushing forward, Griffin completed his hat-trick when he tucked away a through ball from Livsey.

Sowerby got a consolation through a great finish by James Clegg in a game well refereed by Dave Cartwright.

Midgley United Reserves beat visitors Salem 5-4 in a key match near the foot of the table.

Both sides had only registered two league apiece before the weekend.

James Broadbent scored a hat-trick for the visitors but two goals each for Jacob Shaw and Michael Rigby helped tip the scales Midgley’s way

Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves got back to winning ways and climbed back to second place in Division Two with a fine 2-0 win away to Salem Reserves at Savile Park.

Despite the heavy conditions, Saints played good passing football and it wasn’t long before a cross from Harvey Partington found Josh Langan and he steered his header into the corner of the net.

Salem battled throughout but failed to create any clear cut chances and Saints keeper Tony Clarke was untroubled.

The points were made safe early in the second half when Jimmy Smith broke clear and rounded the ‘keeper before tapping home.

Northowram Reserves made it back-to-back 4-1 wins in 2016 and climbed to fourth place with success at home to Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.

The Rams followed up their win away to Salem Reserves with goals from Paul Greenwood (two), Danny King and Paul Glew.

James Cowens replied for Red Star, who stay seventh.