Fine first 40 boosts Rishies
Rishworthians went to Barnsley yesterday to do a job and by half-time had virtually done it.
Their aim was to gain a bonus point win in the rearranged Yorkshire Two fixture to take them eight points clear of third-placed Pontefract and on track for promotion.
They built a 26-0 lead at the break and went on to win 40-14, raising hopes they will be playing alongside Heath and Old Brodleians next season.
It was also the first time the Copley club had won at Barnsley’s Shaw Lane ground in the league.
They dominated the first half, banking the four-try bonus point, but could not maintain the momentum, grabbing only a couple more tries in the second half and looking jaded in the final 10 minutes as their hosts ran in two tries.
Those two Barnsley tries spoiled the result for the visitors, but the worst aspect was losing forward Ben Robinson, who had been having a fine game, with a shoulder injury likely to end his season.
Rishworthians ran the ball in the backs at every opportunity early on but it was the forwards who finally made the breakthrough.
No 8 James Clarke almost crossed twice after a lineout, then hooker Chris Stone did get over but the try was not given. In the next play, however, Clarke was not to be denied, opening the scoring. Josh Kelly added the conversion.
The Rishworthian backs looked likely to break through every time they got the ball, but several times the last pass went to ground as Barnsley defended determinedly.
Fullback Luke Flanagan brought the ball out of defence to set up another attack and good work from Robinson brought a ruck from which scrum half Ed Cockroft ghosted over. Kelly converted.
Centre Taniela Bakoso brought the ball out from deep in the Rishworthian half and linked with Flanagan, who put right wing Matthew Hunt-Brown away on a strong run to score wide out.
More movements broke down with the last pass as the visitors pressed for the bonus-point try.
Clarke and Stone were both stopped short of the line, before teenager Thomas Jowle, who had replaced Robinson, came through on the burst to score his first try for the club and gain the bonus point. Kelly added the conversion to end the half.
Rishworthians opened the second half strongly. An attempted drive from a lineout was held before the ball came out and a delicate chip over the defence by Cockroft was gathered by left wing Anthony Shoesmith for the fifth try, converted by Kelly.
Teenage replacement James McHugh came on for an impressive debut, winning good lineout ball, but the visitors seemed to be able to do little with it, although they got their final try in fine style.
The pack pushed the Barnsley scrum off the ball to win it against the head and Clarke linked with Cockroft, who put Shoesmith in for his second try. Kelly converted to make it 40-0.
The last 10 minutes belonged to Barnsley as they ran in two converted tries against a tired-looking Rishworthians defence.
The Development team had another fine win at Copley in their Merit Table match, beating Cleckheaton thirds 58–5. Oliver Marshall got three tries and there were two each for Sam Bake and Kurt Sutcliffe. Other tries came from Greg Day, Liam Normanton and Rhys Town, who kicked four conversions.