Upton march on in National Cup

Liam Harnell was Upton's man of the match.
Liam Harnell was Upton's man of the match.

Upton beat Stanningley 24-10 in Saturday’s BARLA National Cup second round tie at Waggon Lane despite never hitting top gear.

Upton led 14-4 after making an excellent start with a first minute try.

After Todd Williamson was alert and reclaimed Steve Beal’s kick off, Matt Steadman and Stu James drove towards the posts.

Williamson and Beal combined off a set play to set up Rob Taylor who was halted just short of the line but showed great skill to off-loading to youngster Jack Arnold who finished well in the corner. Beal couldn’t add the extras on what proved a difficult kicking day.

Upton were working hard and wingers Nath Kirby and Harrison Smith and centres Paul Thompson and Harry Stevens were getting onto the ball and making useful yards along with forwards Steadman, James , Alan Thomson and Nick Welsh who were running smartly down the middle of the field.

Upton scored again as Williamson dropped Steadman back on the inside. Tackled ten yards out, he quickly played the ball and Liam Harnell fed Beal who got the ball out to Thompson who hit the pass at pace to burst over near the corner .

Stanningley had the ball for a period as they forced two drop outs but Upton held them out with a good defensive effort.

Upton then went further ahead as Jake Turner passed to winger Kirby who broke into Stanningley’s half before being tackled. The defender held him down too long, giving away a penalty.

Arnold made it close to the sticks from the tap and Harnell hit the on rushing Steadman who put the ball smartly on the line beneath the posts. Beal added the extras.

Upton seemed to take their foot off the gas and Stanningley were making them defend.

There was good tackling from Alex Copcutt and Ross Burrows, supported by Thomson.

With Beal, Williamson and Steadman organising and covering, everything seemed under control until Upton gave away two penalties.

They were punished when Stanningley’s busy hooker quickly sent a big forward crashing over near to the sticks for a converted try.

Upton started the second period well but a couple of knock-ons gave possession back to Stanningley and they forced another drop out.

Upton’s defence didn’t keep its shape and they conceded another try.

Upton went back to basics of completing sets and they looked to force an error deep in Stanningley’s half. The tactic worked when Thompson turned a player in the tackle and, as he looked to offload, Arnold plucked the ball from his grasp and raced away untouched, scoring near the posts to the dismay of the defenders. Beal converted.

The win was sealed after Thomson made ground to the line. Harnell tried to sneak over but was held short.

A quick play of the ball saw Williamson find Beal who feigned a pass before supplying a short ball to Harry Stevens who was running a great line and scored near the corner to round things off.

Harnell was Upton’s man of the match followed by Welsh and Turner.

There were a number of other good displays especially from the youngsters in the team.