Ovenden completed their most successful season in living memory with a handsome 58-10 eclipse of Greetland All Rounders in yesterday’s Halifax ARL Challenge Cup final at Siddal.
Jake Connor’s side were completing a treble, having already won the Pennine President’s Cup and been crowned Pennine League champions.
A decent crowd, toasting in the Bank Holiday Monday sunshine, saw them run in 11 tries against lower-division opponents who led 6-4 after the first quarter before being over-run.
Man of the match Graham Charlesworth sped in for four of Ovenden’s tries while his opposite number, fullback and player-coach Chris Robinson, crowned his excellent display with both of Greetland’s scores.
Ovenden have also reached the last four of the National Cup and lost in the Yorkshire Cup final to Lock Lane this season, leaving club chiefs to ponder about where to play in the future.
Continuing through the summer is a possible next year but a return to the National Conference League is apparently not on the cards at this stage.
Greetland held their own in the early stages yesterday, aided by indiscipline from Ovenden which was punished by referee Tony Martin.
The Spring Rock side, with stand off Joe Horne prominent, forced an early drop out but Ovenden scrum half Chris Holroyd’s fine grubber kick earned his side a scrum in an advanced position and Charlesworth raced over wide out on 10 minutes.
Hooker Max Holdsworth went close for Greetland, who went 6-4 up on 17 minutes when Robinson was first to loose forward Alan Hindle’s delicate grubber kick. Jordan Whippey added the goal.
The impressive Whippey then had a try ruled out after some inventive Greetland play and Ovenden scored twice in three minutes as they started to gain the upper hand.
Replacement Mark Sutcliffe spun out of tackles close to the posts and Greetland’s defence was threadbare out wide to leave winger Jake Kennedy with a comfortable finish.
Kennedy then made a great break from the restart and the hard-working Nick Cassell forced his way over from close range. Holroyd took over the kicking duties from Sean Dyson and added the first of seven conversions for a 14-6 lead.
Greetland might have narrowed the gap close to half time when Joe Horne sent Robinson weaving past defenders. Greetland’s star man looked round in vain for support, lost the ball and instead play swung to the other end where Charlesworth went in at the side of the posts for a converted try and 20-6 interval lead.
Charlesworth added his third try and Ovenden’s fifth shortly after the restart when he won the race to a long clearing kick following a scrum.
It stayed at 24-6 until the 55th minute and then the dam finally burst as Greetland’s defensive effort melted away. Charlesworth’s fourth was followed by a Shaun Smith try set up by Nathan Smith’s break and inside pass.
Centre Jason Dodd met minimal resistance near the top touchline; Robinson’s efforts to get back and deny Luke O’Mara came to nothing when warhorse Chris Geoghegan scored seconds later; and a second from Kennedy left the score 52-6 with 12 minutes left.
Robinson’s second, created by Horne, ensured it wasn’t all one-way traffic but Ovenden had the final say through prop Joss Bentley at the side of the posts to complete an emphatic win.
Hull FC’s Connor was pleased with his side’s attacking play after a slow start. “We are a side that likes to move the ball,” he said.
Greetland’s squad contained eight youngsters and Robinson said the occasion would provide valuable experience for his team. “It was a good effort all-round,” he said.
Greetland: Chris Robinson, Harry Walsh, Adam Riding, Chris Murphy, Sam Robinson, Joe Horne, Joe Battye, Dan Wilkinson, Max Holdsworth, Myles Sugden, Sam Hinsley, Luke Byrne, Alan Hindle. reps: James Crabtree, Jordan Whippey, Luke Sugden, Josh Morrow.
Ovenden: Graham Charlesworth, Nathan Brown, Luke O’Mara, Jason Dodd, Jake Kennedy, Sean Dyson, Chris Holroyd, Sam Morrow, Shaun Smith, Joss Bentley, Nathan Smith, Joe Tuck, Dean Robertshaw. Reps: Liam Walsh, Nick Cassell, Chris Geoghegan, Mark Sutcliffe.