Old Brodleians scored two late tries to beat visitors Cleckheaton 24-19 and regain the Fred Scott Memorial Trophy yesterday.
There looked only one possible outcome when the visitors from Moorend overturned an early 12-0 deficit and used their forward power to take a 19-12 lead down the Woodhead slope in the second half.
However, tries from hooker Danny Vento and prop Cole Wilson gave the lower-ranked Brods victory and had coach for the day Neil Sheard praising the character of his players.
The popularity of the Boxing Day fixture, played in grey, mild conditions, was not only reflected in the crowd of between 300 and 400 but also by the fact that there was a veterans match played simultaneously across the road. Brods also took the spoils in that contest, by 22-12.
The home club had 28 past and present club members willing to put their bodies on the line at Christmas, none of them regular first teamers and many of them back in the area for Christmas.
The first to catch the eye was flanker Brodie Wilson, who has been playing for Eastern Suburbs in Australia. He side-stepped his way through the Cleckheaton cover twice in the first eight minutes and winger Zak Thompson added one of the conversions.
Brods’ first team coach Ollie Akroyd has been itching for some action and his kick to the flank would have brought another try with a more favourable bounce.
Cleckheaton soon began to hold sway in the scrums, at the breakdown and in their traditional area of strength, the maul.
Hooker James Wilson dashed away to the top left-hand corner for the visitors’ first points on 23 minutes and Cleckheaton swept in front with two tries in quick succession early in the second half from centre Jack Seddon, after excellent support play, and full back Ed Curley. Seddon added two conversions.
That appeared to be that but Brods, with their greater reinforcements, finished the stronger. They gave Cleckheaton a taste of their own medicine when Vento scored from a rolling maul following a lineout and Wilson rounded off some superb play which took the home side almost the length of the field, Thompson converting.