AN IMPRESSIVE four tries from Shaun Mitchell helped St Joseph’s secure an emphatic 54-18 win against Newsome Panthers in the Holliday Cup final.
Despite conceding a try just four minutes into the first half, the victory, achieved in front of a packed crowd at Lockwood Park yesterday, was never in doubt.
St Joseph’s – two divisions higher than Newsome in the Pennine League and coached by Keith Senior, the Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain centre – quite simply were too strong and too fast.
Senior, delighted with the result, said: “Our lads all put in a great team performance.
“To win the competition is a great way to finish off the season.
“It’s a few seasons since we last won this competition so that makes the win extra special.”
Newsome coach Steve Cuttell believed their opponents deserved to lift the trophy but said his team would be back again in the final next year.
“It was men against boys really. We are a very young side, with the average age of the squad being about 19. We are a team for the future,” he said. “We were beaten by a better outfit and they deserved what they got.”
Cuttell, defeated but determined to improve, added: “We are pleased that we reached the final and shall use this result as a learning curve. We will be here again no doubt.
“We’ll be 12 months more experienced and we will win it next year!”
Nineteen-year-old winger James Wallace sneaked over the try line in the corner after four minutes to give Newsome the early advantage. Luke Broady failed to convert.
Soon after Newsome applied pressure on their opponents’ defence looking to add to their lead, but to no avail.
Instead, it was St Joseph’s who started to control proceedings.
And, on 12 and 16 minutes, Mitchell grabbed the first two of his four tries of the afternoon. Neil Barrett added the kick for both.
Then speedy winger Richard Aka exploited a gap and ran half the length of the field to score a deserved try. Barrett converted.
Despite the very ominous signs, Newsome continued to battle and scored a well-worked, unconverted try on 26 minutes to reduce their deficit to 10 points.
Ross Studholme flicked a pass onto Ben Cuttell, who laid the ball through to Austin Barrowclough. The 19-year-old hooker then set up Ryan Heeley to touch down.
Barrett, however, converted a penalty one minute before the interval to give St Joseph’s a 20-8 lead.
After what would have been a morale-boosting half-time team talk for Newsome, those words of encouragement were soon wasted as St Joseph’s scored just one minute into the second period.
Prop Tom Guinein lifted Newsome’s spirit – albeit briefly – with a try on 45 minutes.
Luke Broady converted. With St Joseph’s already having one hand on the trophy at this point, in-form Mitchell then grabbed his third and fourth tries to hand them a 38-14 lead.
On 60 minutes loose forward Joe Flaherty squeezed over in the corner, but Barrett missed the kick.
A further four points were added to the scoreboard, this time through Marc Chatten, shortly followed by Heeley grabbing an unconverted consolation try for Newsome.
Flaherty sealed St Joseph’s triumph on 78 minutes, touching down for his second of the afternoon. Barrett’s successful conversion completed the scoring.
The win represents the 13th occasion the Fartown-based club have held the Holliday Cup aloft and the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Newsome Panthers: Heeley, Farrand, Chatterton, Dawson, Wallace, Broady, Studholme, Cuttell (Josh), Kenchington, Good, Worrall, Cuttell (Ben), Barrowclough. Subs: Parkinson, Devlin, Guinein, Davis.
St Joseph’s: St Hilaire, Alexis, Lewis, Mitchell, Aka, Barrett, Folan, Gratino, Drain, Brooke, Joyce, Hyland, Flaherty. Subs: Johnson, Simmons, Chatten, Street.
Referee: David Ansell (Huddersfield)