Old Rishworthians finished their Yorkshire Two season on a high, beating fourth-placed visitors Pontefract 28-19 yesterday in Gary Morris’s last game.
The club stalwart and former captain led out a side which included two veteran props and five players who have stepped up from the under-17s.
It was the youngsters – Sam Nunn, Jacob Bower, Tom Cockroft, Harry Robinson and Oliver Marshall – who all started with the club in the first year of its junior section in the under sixes, who inspired the win.
Together with other youngsters Richard Bullough and man of the match Harvey Keighley-Payne, they produced a brand of fast flowing rugby which blew the visitors away in the first half.
Fly-half Josh Kelly gave Rishworthians the ideal start with a penalty, before a great run by Keighley-Payne, after a lineout steal by player-coach Chris Stone, took play 60 metres up field.
A long pass then put No 8 James Clarke away and he linked with centre Nunn, who almost got over. It ended with a scrum and Clarke picked up to power his way over.
Rishworthians increased their lead with fine try. From a lineout drive Morris took the ball on and then found Clarke. It then went wide and left wing Rhys Town, looping round from his wing, took a superb off-load from Nunn to drive over. Fullback Joe Billing converted.
Clarke and Keighley-Payne linked again before the ball went wide and Billing put right wing Lee Atkinson in at the corner.
Rishworthians were not done and the ball came wide to Atkinson. He kicked on and after being impeded carried on in a seemingly lost cause but was there to touch down as a Pontefract player fumbled the ball over the line for a bonus point try to make it 25-0 at half-time.
It was a different story in the second half as the visitors fought back and had the Copley men under the cosh, particularly with Clarke off injured and Stone on the sideline watching his charges.
The visitors scored three tries, two of them converted, in quick succession.
Stone came back on at hooker to steady the ship and together with veteran props Chris Fox and Martin Brook, they took control in the scrums.
The last five minutes belonged to Rishworthians and they completed the job with the last act of the game, Billing calmly kicking a penalty to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.
The win meant the home side moved up to seventh with 58 points, exactly as they had finished last season, but this time they will have played a game less as next week’s fixture at Sheffield Medicals has been called off.