Rugby League - Standard Challenge Cup, Semi-Final: Rochdale Mayfield 28 - 0 Saddleworth Rangers
Date published: 19 February 2018
Rochdale Mayfield v Saddleworth Rangers
Mayfield saw off the stubborn challenge of local rivals Saddleworth Rangers on Saturday, to reach the final of the Standard Challenge Cup.
In another wintery game, played in heavy conditions, the first ten minutes saw Saddleworth concede a number of penalties as they tried to hold on to the Mayfield attack.
Half breaks by Simon Moore and Matty Chrimes were thwarted, but as Saddleworth attempted to clear their line, Ieuan Higgs intercepted 40 metres out and rounded the cover to the right corner, for a Zac Baker converted try.
Mayfield added to their score when Zac Baker was held just short of the line and Cole Connolly reacted quickest – darting over for a try, converted again by Zac Baker.
Saddleworth did what they could to stem the tide of Mayfield attack and when they tested the patience of the referee once too often, their ‘roughhouse’ forward was sin-binned for a late hit and persistent foul play. This foul saw Ieuan Higgs also unable to carry on.
Komai Namualtua was denied in the left corner but on the half-hour Mayfield took advantage of more Saddleworth indiscipline and Jordan Parr took a neat inside pass to slice through for a try under the posts – the kick inexplicably missed by Zac Baker.
With halft ime looming, Jack Rush smashed through the Saddleworth defence for a Zak Hartley converted try.
The second half appeared to start brightly for Mayfield, with Simon Moore finding space and a clear run to the line, but the ball slipped from his grasp and was intercepted by the visitor’s winger who set off on the 90 metre run to the Mayfield try line. However, forwards Aidy Gleeson and Callum Marriott set off in pursuit and with Gleeson's massive effort forcing the winger wide, Marriott finished the job tackling him 10 metres out.
Saddleworth smelt blood and attempted to pass wide on the next play but Gaz Ellison had also made the long trek back, and he smashed the Saddleworth ball carrier to force an error.
This huge effort by three of Mayfield's biggest forwards took the wind out of the Saddleworth sails, as they clung on with desperate defence but offered little in attack.
Paul Brearley missed out on a try when dropping a Zac Hartley pass with the line begging and Jordan Parr was stopped on the line off another neat inside play.
Brandon Wood found space on the outside left to sprint downfield and draw the full back, putting Jack Rush in for his second try. Zac Hartley converted.
It stayed that way until the end as Mayfield tried different combinations and Saddleworth doggedly defended their line.
Paul Brearley got the man-of-match award for his strong defensive effort and promptings from half-back, whilst the livewire Cole Connolly took the coaches man-of-the match award for his not stop effort in attack and defence.
Both were pushed all the way by forwards Callum Marriott, Gaz Ellison and Aidy Gleeson whilst Jordan Parr and Matty Chrimes excelled in the backs.
The final will be played at Keb Lane, Oldham on Good Friday, 30 March.
Mayfield Team: Jordan Parr. Komai Namulatua, Brandon Wood, Matty Chrimes, Ieuan Higgs. Paul Brearley, Zac Baker, Simon Moore, Cole Connolly, Gaz Ellison, Liam Whalley, Callum Marriott, Aidy Gleeson, Zak Hartley, Nick Hargreaves, Macauley Donnelly, Jack Rush.