Stanley Rangers hosted Normanton Knights in a re-run of the Wakefield Cup Final. It was an emotional day for Stanley on the late Evan Hawksworth's 1 year anniversary and the Rangers squad paid a fitting tribute to Evan before the game and Normanton joining Stanley with a minutes applause,
Stanley started the game strong using the occasion and their defeat in the Final as fuel, led by impressive hooker Alfie Wilkinson, and half backs Wheelhouse and Clay Harnetty the lads in red and black tore up the ground. Medlock, Hopkinson, Hampshire, Govoskiy and Ben Bradbury always looked dangerous almost breaking the line at will, but the break came from winger Sid Chadwick after quick hands from Medlock and Joel Kay, Chadwick broke for a 70 metre gain, that lifted Rangers. Some powerful running then gave space for Medlock to send Kay in for the 1st try, conversion missed by Earnshaw, 4-0. Normanton then got a bit lucky - a ball strip was given as a knock-on and the Knights were in for a converted try, 4-6. Normanton were struggling under Stanley's pressure in defence and kicked early but a bad bounce wrong footed fullback Earnshaw and the Knights were in again, 4-12 at the break.
Stanley changed things with forwards Lewis Kelly and Josh Garrett making big impacts. Stanley were taking the game to Normanton and some quick hands saw Harnetty in space with a dummy he was in out wide, and with Earnshaw kicking the conversion the score got to 10-12. Normanton were struggling to get any ball as Rangers put them under constant pressure in defence Hopkinson Bradbury Medlock and Erickas Govoskiey putting some big shots in and forcing the ball free. Govoskiey then broke the line and powered up the field, another good scoot from Wilkinson and then from Govoskiey again powered over for a great try, conversion kicked by Kay, 16-12. Normanton looked to fight back and a few penalties later were in a good position on Stanley's line and Rangers dogged defence was breached out wide and the Knights were back in it 16-16. With five minutes to play and the game up for grabs, the Stanley outfit looked stronger and showed that at the finish, putting endless pressure on the Knights line but Normanton held firm to the final whistle, 16-16.
Rangers head coach was happy with the lads performance but said a little bit more composure at the end would have snatched victory. Rangers Man of the Match went to Erickas Govoskiey with Ben Bradbury and Logan Wheelhouse picking up the 3rd and 2nd place respectively.
Stanley travel to Elland next weekend - Sunday July 15th.