National Conference: Siddal sunk by late tries

Siddal v Lock Lane. George Ambler for Siddal.
Siddal v Lock Lane. George Ambler for Siddal.

Siddal lost 24-18 at home to a useful Lock Lane side in a fluctuating and exciting National Conference League Premier Division match yesterday.

The Halifax side fought back from 12-0 down at half-time to lead 18-12 with seven minutes left, only to see their habit of letting in back-to-back tries return.

Both sides went into the game having won four of their last five league games and that form was demonstrated in the opening quarter as the packs tore into each other.

Canaan Smithies and Jack Georgiou were prominent for Siddal and Rob Firth led the visitors’ response.

Siddal winger Ollie Lewis made a great catch when Lane’s Danny Sowerby launched a probing kick into the corner, breaking out to the 20 metre line to relieve pressure.

Full back Freddy Walker was also safe under high balls and three quarters Lewis Hosty, Henry Turner and Josh Greenwood-MacDonald were all putting in a shift to support the hard-working Siddal pack.

The deadlock was broken after 31 minutes when a Siddal mistake from a scrum conceded possession and Danny Sowerby skipped over to touch down. Connor Turner added the conversion.

Siddal continued to probe for a chink in the Lock Lane defensive line with Byron Smith, Iain Davies and Danny Rushworth to the fore. Lock Lane defended well and were making few mistakes, as hooker Craig Savage and loose forward Chris Siddons marshalled their colleagues.

Lane doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when Siddal conceded a penalty in attack. The visitors moved play forward and Steven Scott touched down with the last play of the half before Turner’s conversion.

Siddal were out of the blocks quickly in the second half. Walker looked a certain scorer on 42 minutes but was denied by a tremendous tackle from his counterpart at full back, Tom Sowerby.

Two minutes later, the home side did register a try when a Joe Martin break was supported by Walker and he squeezed over in the corner. Martin’s touchline conversion reduced the gap to 6-12.

The Lock Lane defence was under pressure now as Dominic Booth, Ben Hinsley, Sean McCormack and Danny Williams started to gain metres.

Lock Lane held firm until 63 minutes when Siddal kept the ball alive on the last tackle. Danny Williams found Ollie Lewis and the ball moved between George Ambler, Joe Martin and Lewis Hosty, who sent in Josh Greenwood-MacDonald at the corner. Martin repeated his touchline conversion and the scores were level.

The home side took the lead on 69 minutes. The pattern of gaining long metres in the set was repeated as Christian Ackroyd, McCormack and Byron Smith took play down field. Martin put in a well-placed short kick which was taken beautifully by Hosty, who scored by the side of the posts. Martin’s easier conversion put Siddal ahead at 18-12.

Siddal thought they had stretched the lead after 72 minutes when Ambler claimed a touch down under the posts. The referee ruled it out for a knock on and controversially allowed Lock Lane a quick tap from the 20 metre line, despite the ball having been passed beforehand between the visitors ranks. The quick restart allowed Lock Lane to take play down to the other end of the field, where Hosty made a try saving tackle. Siddal were, however, forced to drop out and hooker Savage dummied his way through the home defence on 73 minutes and scored. Turner’s conversion levelled the scores again at 18-18.

Neither side looked for a drop goal as they continued to trade blows in the final five minutes. Lane scored the crucial try as their two best players, Savage and Siddons, again combined for the latter to claim the decisive try in the 79th minute which was improved by Turner.