Drig success opens up Pennine title race



DRIGHLINGTON moved up to second place in the Pennine League Premier Division following a thrilling victory over Slaithwaite last Saturday.

The match between the high fliers turned out to be an enthralling game, highlighted the defences of both sides as Drig managed to nil a top side who have been scoring for fun in recent weeks.

Drighlington’s forwards were a revelation as they took on their much bigger and heavier opponents and stopped them from gaining ground at every opportunity with crunching tackles and strong running.

Kilbride, McIntyre and Pennington were outstanding and made good metres with every run causing panic in the visitors defence and keeping them on the back foot for most of the first half.

The backs too had their moments with Newton, Larvin, Doyle and Sanderson keeping the ball moving and also doing heir share of tackling whenever Slaithwaite tried to break out of their half.

Drig were the better side and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring with a opportunist try, hooker Gary Smith scooting away from dummy half after a couple of quick play-the-balls and racing 20 metres to the line sidestepping all attempts to tackle him.

That was an excellent try and seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors and when Sanderson converted it put Drig in command.

Drig maintained the pressure but couldn’t breach the visitors line as Lambert and Doyle were stopped just short and a last ditch tackle on Newton as he prepared to score was the visitors highlight of the half and gave them renewed vigour.

Drig did extend their lead with a Sanderson penalty after 30 minutes and the half petered out with the score at only 8-0 but with Drig on top.

Slaithwaite came out for the second half with greater determination and Drig had to utilise all their defensive qualities to keep them at bay.

The first 10 minutes of the second half was all attacks by the visitors but Drig kept them out and pushed Slaithwaite back into their own half with tremendous tackling.

Another Sanderson penalty after 60 minutes stretched Drig’s lead before both sides went close to scoring, but Slaithwaite could find no way through Drig’s defence.

The match clinching try came in the 77th minute when Gary Smith chased an excellent grubber kick by Newton and hacked on to beat the defenders and dive on the ball for the all important try.

Sanderson missed the difficult conversion but can be forgiven as he, together with all the team, had put in a tremendous effort and managed to nil one of the best teams in the Premier Division.

Drighlington’s last game of the year is at Queensbury on Saturday (kick off 2pm). This is always a tough game as the Bradford side are a formidable force at home so Drig will have to be on top form.

Drighlington A entertain Wibsey A and with the Battlefields still unusable the match will be played at Bruntcliffe School (2pm)