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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Askam fall under Stanley Rangers’ spell

ASKAM Under-14s bowed out of the BARLA National Cup despite a spirited display against Wakefield’s Stanley Rangers.

The second round tie was played in driving rain at Fallowfield Park, but neither side gave an inch on a committed afternoon of rugby league.

The bigger Stanley side showed their physical advantage from the start, making easy yards to put them deep into the Askam half.

Strong defending by second-rower Danny Wright and stand-off James Wallis stopped the visitors in their tracks, but the Askam cause was not helped as they lost captain Tom Martin to a shoulder injury with just five minutes on the clock.

The blow was made worse just moments later as Stanley opened the scoring, with loose forward Harry Hurst going over and adding the extras for a 6-0 advantage.

As the game settled down, Askam were matching Stanley, with strong running from Jonny Hutton and Wright causing Stanley trouble.

Luke Reid was dictating play from acting half-back, leading the home team’s forwards around the field well. But there was no home score and sustained pressure from Stanley’s big pack allowed several players to link up and send stand-off Matty Hobson in for a try, Hurst adding the goal for 12-0.

The Villagers quickly responded with a try themselves as good play from Wallis and scrum half Aidan Wright paved the way for the latter to send in his twin brother Danny, with a short pass on the halfway line.

That score made it 12-4 with the first half drawing to a close, but Rangers were able to add a try before the whistle went as dangerous full-back Tom Sowerby nipped over in the corner to extend the gap to 12.

The start of the second half saw Askam looking the brighter team, making inroads deep into the Stanley half.

But the pressure came to nothing and it was the Stanley hooker, Charlie Holland, who was leading the way for his team.

Some great play from Holland put his side on a roll, making easy yards and playing quick ball to put the platform in place for Sowerby’s second try of the afternoon. Hurst again kicked the extras for 22-4.

Despite facing substantial arrears, Askam refused to give in and pressure on the Stanley line forced a drop-out, only for the Rangers defence to stand up to the test.

Keir Shepherd was causing trouble around the ruck for the Villagers with some quick play and a kick which forced Stanley to come off their line.

This set up Hurst for Rangers, who broke through the line, but Aidan Wright tracked back and produced a cover tackle, only to delay the inevitable as Sowerby completed his hat-trick. Hurst added the goal for 28-4.

Refusing to go down without a fight, the home side kept going and big work-rate from Danny Wright in both attack and defence pushed them on, and he was rewarded with a second try of the afternoon. Wallis kicked the conversion.

As the match drew to a close, tiring bodies and persistent defending took their toll on the hosts and two further Stanley tries from Holland and Sowerby saw them seal their triumph.

Holland, Hurst and Sowerby were outstanding throughout for Stanley, while Danny Wright, Aidan Wright and Luke Reid were Askam’s best.

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