Brighouse win easily at Kippax

Rugby League - Ovenden v Brighouse Rangers. Andrew Esmond for Brighouse.
Rugby League - Ovenden v Brighouse Rangers. Andrew Esmond for Brighouse.

Brighouse Rangers warmed up for next weekend’s big home derby with Elland by matching their rivals’ record of four wins out of four in Division Three of the Yorkshire Men’s League on Saturday.

Rangers travelled to rugby league hotbed Kippax, source of league legends Malcolm Reilly and Roger Millward, and systematically demolished the hosts to notch a 42-10 success.

The victory was based on a dominant pack display, with giant prop Sam Moon proving almost impossible to be put to ground, often requiring five defenders to stop his progress.

Centre Andrew Esmond completed a hat-trick, all goaled by Karl Frankland, and Rangers led 18-0 in as many minutes.

Kippax were reduced to 12 men as a frustrated defender threw punches after the try.

The home side upped their aggression, often illegally, and only benevolent refereeing kept them with 12 men. Half-back Ben Drennan was hit high as he stepped the Kippax prop, and had to be led from the field.

Rangers’ Matty Bailey was given a yellow card for a hard but seemingly legal tackle that buckled the Kippax man.

Kippax were next to score an unconverted try, to make it 18-4 in the 39th minute, but Rangers hit back immediately. Ben Waud collected a short kick off, showing no ill effects from a punch to the face, rampaging to the line for a superb solo effort. Frankland converted to make the half time score 24-4.

Facing the wind in the second half, Rangers’ defence strangled Kippax out of the game.

The visitors were next to score, in the 47th minute, with a shrewd chip over the defensive line from the mercurial Jamie Barraclough collected by Esmond, who fed winger Sam Hardcastle. The pacey winger feigned to go on the outside, but stepped infield, bamboozling defenders and scoring by the posts.

Sixteen year old debutant Will Clerehugh was having a great game at hooker, with astute decision making and fearless defence against bigger, battle hardened Kippax forwards.

Packmen Joe Sealey, Callum Heseltine, Liam Pitman-Smith, Matty Bailey, Louie Sweeney and Sam Moon absorbed everything the Kippax pack could throw at them.

Rangers went further ahead as the tiring hosts had no answer from a beautiful show and go from Doug Heseltine, the stand off slicing through the middle from 20 yards out. Frankland goaled to make it 36-4.

Rangers rapidly scored again; big Matty Bailey was put through a gap with a beautiful short pass in his own half. He galloped half the length of the field and timed his pass to perfection to give Esmond an easy fourth try, converted by Frankland, who was faultless with the boot, to make it 42-4.

With no way out of their half with ball in hand, Kippax finally decided to use the elements, hoisting long deep kicks to Brighouse’s left side.

Full back Frankland caught everything and left side threequarters Joe Campbell and Paul Fairhurst made big yards returning the ball, negating any field position Kippax were hoping to gain.

Rangers made several more breaks but a forward pass, a dropped ball and failure to pass cost them three more tries. Sealey took a blow to the head from another Kippax high tackle and had to be helped off the field.

With Rangers pressing the Kippax line, a misplaced short kick was caught by the wind and went straight to the Kippax wingman, who went the full distance. The touchline conversion made it 42-10.

There were no further points in the game, but having passed a concussion test on the sideline, an aggrieved Sealey sought retribution on the Kippax prop with use of the knee in the tackle, meaning he had to watch the rest game having been shown a yellow card.