Morley RFC produced another of their derby specials as they pushed promotion chasers Sandal all the way in a battling display on Saturday.
Having recently beaten Cleckheaton and already having given Sandal a big scare in the first meeting of the two West Yorkshire sides the Maroons were up for their latest derby game and could count themselves unlucky to lose 23-20.
They did have the consolation of picking up two bonus points, but fell just short despite outscoring their opponents four tries to two.
Morley were first to score in the opening half after Brad Marshall made a great run down the stand side. Mark Chester put in long cross field kick that was knocked on under pressure from Tom Clough and from the scrum Sean Dadswell picked up, shrugged off a tackle and went over.
Sandal hit back, but were met with aggressive defending – too aggressive at times for the referee and Sam Brown was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. Ex-Morley player Mark Pease got the first of five kicks and added two more penalties to make it 9-5 at half-time. The Maroons ended the half with 14 men as Dadswell was yellow carded for offside.
Chester did threaten for Morley with a break well supported by Luke Stevenson and Clough, but the final pass was intercepted.
Morley started the second half well before a missed tackle allowed Pease to shoot through and offload to centre Allott who scored under the posts. The easy conversion made it 16-5, but Morley did not lose heart. Ben Bell made a burst up field and on 51 minutes Clough came into the line to ghost over for a fine try.
They thought they had scored again on the hour as a long kick ahead by Chester was fumbled over the line and Clough pounced only for the referee to rule no try.
Clough did score a spectacular try soon after with a thrilling run to the line. But Sandal went over for their second try through flanker Briscoe and Pease’s goal made it 23-15.
Still Morley battled on and they scored their fourth try a minute from time when Andy Funnell collected a precise kick by Chester.