Hemsworth keep title hopes alive with win over leaders

Joe Thompson: Try scorer.
Joe Thompson: Try scorer.

Hemsworth RUFC moved to within a win of the Yorkshire Four title when they produced a superb performance to beat leaders Skipton 33-27.

Skipton, who have led the way all season, could have clinched the championship if they had won, but in front of a big crowd at Hemsworth it was the hosts who emerged triumphant for their ninth win on the bounce.

The two bonus points gained by Skipton meant they stayed ahead, but victory by any margin in their last game of the season at Ossett on Saturday, April 22 will ensure Hemsworth will be promoted as champions.

They were made to work hard for their victory against a strong Skipton side that started well, scoring two early tries to open up a 12-0 lead and stun the home supporters.

Hemsworth got their game going, however, as David Findlay finished off a fine backs move to collect the hosts’ first points and prop Luke Townsend forced his way over for a second try. Ben Brailsford converted and added a penalty to give the home team a half-time lead.

The good work continued into the second half with Joe Thompson going over.

But the game swung back Skipton’s way after Hemsworth had a player harshly sent-off and with their extra man the visitors crossed for their third try.

Jacob Bailey proved unstoppable for Hemsworth, however, with a bulldozing run over the line for their fourth try and with Brailsford adding a two more penalties to his two conversions in a great display of kicking a sizeable lead was opened up again into the last quarter.

Skipton kept going and threw everything at the home team in the closing stages. They managed a further try, but Hemsworth held on with some mighty defence near the end to get their massive win in a game that was a fantastic advert for rugby union at this level.

They now have a week’s break before the final league game at Ossett when championship honours beckon if they can produce another good display.