ARCH POACHER Anthony Shoesmith snatched a 16-13 victory for Old Rishworthians with a late, late try at Old Brodleians yesterday.
The winger scythed through the home defence on an angled run following a tap-penalty and Josh Kelly’s easy conversion gave the visitors a victory which lifted them above their local rivals in the Yorkshire One table.
It was pay back time for the Copley side, who had been beaten 17-14 by Tom Kill’s late try in similarly fine conditions at Copley when the pair had met in the first game of the season last September.
Again the side that produced the more cohesive rugby lost in what for the most part seemed more of an end-of-season mid-table battle than a blood and thunder derby.
Matt Smith, in charge of the Woodhead side for the last time ahead of a switch to his local club Sandal next season, thought his side had been unlucky to lose after turning things around well following an unpromising opening 30 minutes.
Rishworthians backs coach Tom Andrews, a former Brods player, was pleased with the outcome but described his side’s decision making as ‘awful’ before they had finally got it right in the closing seconds.
In front of a fairly subdued audience of around 400, the visiting pack bossed matters down the slope but lost the ball in promising positions in the Brods 22 on several occasions.
Prop Harry Whitfield caught the eye with strong runs and lineout catches from overthrown ball by the Brods, as well as playing his part in an advancing scrum.
Forward pressure seemed certain to yield points but home centre Phil Town intercepted near his own line and made 50 metres before checking back as Rishworthians full back Sam Bake hunted him down.
Eventually Rishworthians had to settle for a 9-0 lead with long-range penalties after 19, 22 and 28 minutes from the booming boot of Josh Kelly.
Brods improved matters up front by putting Danny Vento and Gareth Moger into the front row and having No 8 Rob Jennings throwing at the line-outs.
Kelly drove them back with some heavy clearances. He was off target with an ambitious drop goal attempt and then, early in the second half, with a long range penalty before fading out of the game.
Brods were boosted by an easy Town penalty just before half time and he added a second three minutes after the restart to make it 6-9.
The hosts, with forwards Vento, Bennie Pritchett and Jennings increasingly to the fore, hit the front just before the hour mark when strong and determined centre Michael Briggs wriggled his way in under the posts and Town converted.
Rishworthians still looked to have the forward power to get back into it but their back line was strangely impotent and Brods were the more confident in possession with Gareth Newman calling the shots at stand off in the absence of Dan Cole.
The sin-binning of Brods lock Pete Williams for what the referee adjudged a high tackle was the turning point.
He was off the field for 17 minutes and the home side had other questions about the official’s time keeping in a second half which finished 55 minutes after it had started.
The home side retained possession for a while after Williams’ yellow card but a glut of late penalties against them helped Rishworthians advance.
Shoesmith weaved his way to the top left corner and prop Josh Crickmay was held up over the try line before the visitors produced one, decisive piece of decent back play for Shoesmith’s all-important contribution.