Vandals win top of table thriller

Halifax Vandals ended Goole's long winning run with a thrilling 32-27 win at Warley on Saturday in a battle of Yorkshire Three promotion contenders.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 10:48 am
Updated Monday, 6th March 2017, 10:50 am

Chris McAspurn’s late try in the corner snatched victory and took Jamie Bloem’s side into second place.

With top of the table Knottingley losing again, Vandals have an outside chance of the title with five games left.

In a pulsating game, both teams demonstrating amazing levels of commitment and skill on a wet, cold day.

Goole started in exhilarating style and scored two tries wide out in the first six minutes to open up a 10-0 lead.

The first came from a pin point cross field kick by the impressive stand-off and the second when a careless Vandals kick dropped kindly for the Goole winger who streaked away.

Vandals’ pack worked hard to maintain possession and drive their way up the slope. A dangerous overlap was wasted and Harris was held inches short of the try line.

A Crowther penalty pulled back three points but Goole were irrepressible and the ball was moved wide at pace for another carbon copy try from the winger in the corner, superbly converted.

Fourteen points down after 25 minutes, Vandals were staring at an embarrassing defeat but they kept the ball to great effect for the rest of the half.

Luke Sutcliffe made a fantastic blind side break and was tackled in to touch just short of the try line but Ben Burnside was driven over the line for an unconverted try.

The mood had changed and strong running from Paul Jowett, Carrington and Burnside, interspersed with powerful driving mauls, were causing mayhem. Crowther’s penalty on the stroke of half time reduced the gap to six points.

The second half started in dramatic fashion. Vandals established a driving maul which marched forward at an incredible pace. A penalty was kicked into the corner and great line out ball from Sim was driven over in style for Burnside to collect his second try. Crowther converted and the Halifax side were leading by a point.

Goole swept back up the hill and an easily penalty edged Goole back into a narrow lead.

Excellent kicking from Gallagher established a great position for the Vandals. Frustration was growing as Goole repeatedly collapsed the maul but escaped without yellow cards or the awarding of a penalty try. Eventually, however, Harris was forced over and Crowther brilliantly converted for a 25-20 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

The real drama was still to come. Goole produced a well organised maul of their own and converted to go two points ahead.

The last eight minutes saw constant Vandals pressure and Goole suffered back to back sin bins.

Vandals established a five metre line out and looked sure to score. The throw was adjudged to be not straight but Goole failed to clear and man of the match Martin Hamer made a terrific blind side break and McAspurn sprinted clear and dived into the corner, taking the flag with him. After an agonising wait the try was awarded and Vandals celebrated a magnificent victory.