Stanley Rangers Under 14s travelled to Castleford Panthers in the 1st round of the Continuation Cup this week.
Stanley started the strongest and threatened to break every set, controlled by hooker Dan Gilfeather and half backs Harnetty and Joe Hampshire. Stanley's forwards Kelly, Halford, Talbot, Medlock and Owen Hopkinson always looked dangerous, but it was Panthers that struck first after a Rangers knock-on a move off the back of the scrum saw Castleford score out wide for a 4-0 lead. Rangers then started to control the rest of the half with the Stanley backs Roberts, Rogerson, Roberts, Earnshaw and Liam Auty taking pressure off the pack. Great play from Hampshire then sent Hopkinson through a gap only to be stopped by a great tackle from the full back. a quick play of the ball and some slick hands sent Bradbury in for a try out wide, the conversion missed - 4-4 the scoreline. Stanley then powered their way down field and some great footwork saw Hopkinson slice through under the sticks. The conversion was kicked by Talbot - 4-10 at the break.
Stanley lost Talbot at the break through injury, then early in the half also lost Hopkinson. This gave Panthers a boost and they quickly went into a lead 22-10. Stanley then lost half back Hampshire through injury and were down to 13 with no interchange bench left. Michael Blick was doing well after coming on making double figure tackles and Hopkinson returned late showing his bravery but Stanley's reshuffle saw them disjointed and a late Panthers score made the final score 28-10.
Stanley coach Paul Dean and assistant John Harnetty were left frustrated with the injuries which probably cost Stanley the game. Good luck to Panthers in the next round.
Stanley fullback Earnshaw impressed, as did 2nd row Blake Medlock but Owen Hopkinson picked up the Man of the Match award, Rangers look to bounce back with a trip to Normanton Knights this weekend.